United Airlines and the Kingdom of God.

This last week a man was forcefully ejected from a flight because the seat was required by staff of a partner airline to United, who turned up at the gate after the flight had boarded.

Using a phrase straight out of an Orwellian dystopian novel United’s  cheif executive Oscar Munoz used the phrase designated volunteers to describe those who were asked to leave Flight 3411 from Chicago.

But it isn’t Orwellian doublespeak I am talking about, , not yet, but the idea that it is common practise to put crew on a flight as a priority over paying passengers. Blogger Angelia( a pilot’s wife) explained it like this.

“No, this was a must fly, a positive space situation. In layman terms, it means that a crew must be flown to an airport to man a flight in order to avoid cancellation of said flight due to crew unavailability. … they can, will, must by federal regulation bump people for the better good of the 1000’s. Why? Because one cancelled flight has a serious domino affect in the delicate, complicated world of connections and aviation law.”

Bump one man for the benefit of many. Sounds a reasonable strategy, but I’m feeling déjà vu here. I have read something like this in the Bible.

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. John 11:45-52 ESVUK

“To gather into one the children of God.” The kingdom of God is for all. Available to all. Jesus’ death has made it available to all. Not all respond, many do not, but it is available to all, not just some designated volunteers. The picture of the city of God is a city without walls. While politicians are bust putting up walls between countries, Jesus has broken all the barriers down.

But back to the Bible passage.

Caiphas got it wrong.

His plan was substitution.

Substitute Jesus. Kill Jesus and the Romans will allow the present political system to continue. As a political plan it was one of the worst. They got rid of Jesus and the country was gone within half a century anyway.

But God got it right.

His plan was substitution.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 6:5-9


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