Jesus and the Death Penalty

This is completely off the cuff and unprepared. I have no scriptures prepared with which to support my points. But that’s when I do my best thinking.

Over the past year, and largely recently due to the botched execution, questions have been raised in the church and out of the church regarding the moral justice of the death penalty for criminals and whether or not Jesus would support it or protest it.

We have in the defense of those who believe Jesus is against the death penalty two key scriptures: the commandment given to Moses and the Israelites, “Thou shalt not kill”, and we have the scene where Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees, who were about to stone a woman for adultery, and he stated, “You who is without sin among you, cast the first stone,” which caused them all to walk away, never casting a stone.

So, against death penalty? Maybe.

However, the Old Testament laws are filled with reasons in which the death penalty is acceptable as means of punishment: adultery, blasphemy, murder, disrespect of parents, and plenty more. Moses, at God’s command, ordered the slaughter of men, women, and children because of their unbelief.

During His lifetime, Jesus was a witness to many crucifixions, the most brutal and shameful form of execution, yet did not preach against it. He never discouraged the Romans from crucifying Him. He never talked about how unjust and immoral it was. As a matter of fact, it seemed like a non-issue to Jesus.

We later have Paul who encouraged us to submit to the governing authorities and obey their laws.

We have a God who believes in justice for crimes committed, but at the same time we have a God that says “Vengeance is mine, I will repay”.

Are we, as Christians, to protest the death penalty on the grounds of justice or human rights? Or do we choose to keep this in the private sector unless asked by a friend or someone else to speak on our opinion?

The Scriptures are not clear on these teachings.

It’s not a matter of Biblical Justice or what God says on the issue, but rather how we show the love of Christ to those facing such a harrowing ordeal, either the criminals themselves or their families who must now live without them for the rest of their lives.

One thought on “Jesus and the Death Penalty

  1. Pingback: Promised Peace | When is Jesus Coming Back?

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