Jim Denison: A Massacre in New Zealand, Fighting in Israel, and a Redemptive Lesson from an Unlikely Source

Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this morning. Twenty more were seriously wounded.

Four people, including three men and one woman, have been taken into custody. One man in his late twenties has been charged with murder. He reportedly posted a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter.

This tragedy was the largest massacre in New Zealand history. It reminds us that Satan “comes to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). God is weeping with those who weep today and calls us to join him (Romans 12:15).

In other news, Israeli warplanes struck some one hundred Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, responding to a rocket attack on the Israeli metropolis of Tel Aviv. The fighting broke out as Egyptian mediators were in Gaza working to broker an expanded cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In a world filled with violence and chaos, we can learn a redemptive lesson from an unlikely source.


Today is known as the “Ides of March.” In the Roman world, the “Ides” was the midpoint of their months. The date we know as March 15 was marked by several religious ceremonies and was a Roman deadline for settling debts.

This day is especially known to history as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. The back story is remarkable.

According to the Roman biographer Plutarch (died AD 119), “A certain seer warned Caesar to be on his guard against a great peril on the day of the month of March which the Romans call the Ides; and when the day had come and Caesar was on his way to the senate-house, he greeted the seer with a jest and said: ‘Well, the Ides of March are come,’ and the seer said to him softly: ‘Ay, they are come, but they are not gone.’”

Later that day, Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as sixty conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius.

Most people know the story of his death. But why was Caesar murdered on this day?

And why is his death relevant to our broken world today?


The Roman Republic was founded in 509 BC. Governed by leaders elected by the people, their representative model influenced the founders of the American republic. Over time, however, the aristocratic leaders of the Republic became less focused on the people and more concerned for their own power and agendas.

Julius Caesar (100–44 BC) rose to power as an accomplished military conqueror. With chaos in Rome, Caesar led his army south across the Rubicon, the northern barrier of Italy, on January 10, 49 BC. By 45 BC, he had become the sole dictator of Rome.

Brutus, Cassius, and the senators who conspired to execute Caesar claimed they were liberating the people from dictatorship. He was killed in a place known as Pompey’s Theater.

The area fell into ruins over the centuries and is currently fenced off from the public and occupied by stray cats. However, the mayor of Rome announced last week that the site will undergo renovation and be opened to the public in 2021.

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Source: Christian Headlines