Does Jesus Love Terrorists? – by Eliezer Gonzalez
- Bible study
- Christian Evidences
- Christian Living
- Dr Eliezer Gonzalez
- New Testament
May 10, 2015 1741
Terrorism is not a modern phenomenon. It’s surprising to see just how much Jesus had to do with “terrorists.”
I guess it was unavoidable. The region into which Jesus was born was divided by complicated politics and religious issues. Nothing much has changed, has it?
The Sicarii were named for the knife that they carried under their cloaks, with which they would stab people to death in the great festival gatherings in the temple.
The Samaritans were loathed and hated for good reason. They had harassed the Jewish population and were well known for robbing and killing unwary travellers. They were considered terrorists back then.
The Qumran communities were communes that fostered an extreme, apocalyptic ideology that would inevitably have fostered insurgencies.
According to Acts 1:15, one of Jesus’ disciples was called “Simon the Zealot.” You didn’t get to be called a “Zealot” for getting good grades at school!
In Luke 9:52–55, when James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village, Jesus rebuked them.
Then in the next chapter (John 10:13–15) Jesus tells the very religious towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida that they would fare much, much worse than the ancient terrorist Phoencian state (at least it had been a terror state for Israel). That’s shocking stuff.
And then, also in Luke 10, Jesus goes and tells the story of the good Samaritan – read that as “good terrorist.” Huh?
In Luke 13:1–3, the people ask Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering their sacrifices in the temple. We don’t know anything else about this event, but we do know that the Galilee was famous for political unrest and insurgencies, and the Roman Governor Pilate would have probably considered these Galileans to have been terrorists. Jesus gives a surprising answer. He basically says that unless those good religious people who asked the question repented, they would also perish.
In Matthew 27:15–25, the life of Jesus is exchanged for the life of Barabbas – a famous terrorist. Jesus dies in his place.
In Luke 23:32–43, we have the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, in which he is crucified between two thieves. The translation of the Greek word here is not really correct. The word kakourgos means a “rebel, revolutionary, an insurgent – who commits gross crimes.
So, in the providence of God, Christ was crucified between two terrorists. To them, also, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” While one reviled him, the other simply asked Jesus to remember him. The last item of Jesus’ ministry before his death was to give eternal life to a terrorist.
It is easy to give a theoretical answer to the question, “Does Jesus love terrorists?” Of course he does: “For God so loved the world…” is how the famous verse starts. And as difficult as it may seem for us, what I have run through here is how Jesus treated terrorists.
You see, beyond the theoretical answer, it is much more important to see how Jesus actually interacted with people who felt marginalized and radicalized because of politics and religion.
This has nothing to do with politics, or the merits of different religions, or even the requirements of security and justice. But it has everything to do with how we are to personally deal with people who we consider to be so unlike us in culture, ideology and faith, that we call them terrorists.
– Eliezer Gonzalez