• Andrew Klager

Resurrection and Revenge


In an alternate universe, we could have had a gospel account in which, in the forty days after his resurrection and before his ascension, we read that Jesus plotted to “get back at” his oppressors and murderers. I'm sure this is what a lot of us would do or would want to do or would want Jesus to do. And yet, this didn't happen. In essence, the Resurrection is the part of the story in which Jesus gets his chance to respond to the deicide he experienced, but Jesus shows us that the Resurrection — the conquest of death by the source of all life — is itself the victory, from which flows forgiveness and mercy without fighting back since “He had done no violence” Is. 53:9.

A parallel also exists in the other forty days that Jesus experienced in the wilderness (Mt. 4:1–11): here, the devil tempts Jesus to show his power by calling down angels to rescue him so that he could rule over the kingdoms of this world, using the same violent means to gain and maintain his power — which is reminiscent of his prayerful anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane when he had the ability but refused to call down twelve legions of angels to prevent his arrest by the Roman soldiers after he told Peter to put away his sword (Mt. 26:52–53).

In the forty days after his resurrection, Jesus is here showing that he’s not the type of Messiah who’s going to use his power as God incarnate to take revenge by overthrowing and becoming the ruler of an earthly empire, but is instead who he already showed himself to be: a Messiah who rides into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey rather than a mighty war horse and is enthroned on a Roman cross instead of a Roman solium.

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