Father, Forgive Them: Soldiers and the King of the Jews
In comments I got from publishing Zion cannot be built up, I was frustrated at the suggestion that Jesus is a soldier. Even if it is just a ‘spiritual soldier’ or a ‘warrior jesus’, I find it very upsetting – just the thought of it made me very sick. The way I see it is this, and I have ‘searched’ the scriptures for evidence of the Savior describing himself as a warrior or of teaching his disciples to fight in war. The results are dismal (please see below). On the other hand, I did a search for Jesus and Peace, and I got “jesus + peace” = 31 results
those who tortured Jesus were soldiers
The only link that one can make between Jesus and soldiers is, to be honest, not a pretty one. This is a very well-known passage of scripture and perhaps also an easily overlooked fact: those who tortured Jesus were soldiers. The soldiers stripped him naked and put a scarlet robe on him, they platted a crown of thorns on his head; and they bowed their knee before him and mocked him, saying Hail, King of the Jews. They spit on him and hit him in the head. And after they had mocked him, they led him away to crucify him. They parted his garments, and then sat down and watched him die on the cross and set over his head his accusation: This is Jesus the King of the Jews.
- forgive them for they know not what they do
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…
Why would Jesus teach his sons and daughters in the last days that we ought to be soldiers, soldiers who, by profession, mocked him, tortured him and crucified him, and for whom he pleaded unto the Father “forgive them, Father – for they are ignorant of their sin”. So I can easily conclude: Jesus was not a soldier. On the contrary, I believe that anyone who wears the uniform of a soldier today and still confesses to have Jesus as a role model is mocking the God of peace.
Were the soldiers who tortured the Lamb of God not only doing their duty, and in that case, also being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates? Were they not doing the right thing: what they owed to their gods by protecting the powers that be? They crowned Jesus as king, but Jesus had previously shown that he did not want to be king: he had fled the multitude whom he had fed with loaves of bread, because they were planning to take him by force and crown him King. Neither in front of Pilate did he say that he was a king, in the contrary, he said: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence”.
To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world
Jesus continues: “that I would bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” So you may echo the words of Pilate: “What is truth?” Pilate then walked out and declared to the crowds and said “I find in him no fault at all!” and thus the words of Isaiah were fulfilled, “and he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).
Paul, however, is the first to use a war/soldier analogy to the gospel, but it is worth remembering that Paul was teaching the Gentiles, looking for converts among the Romans – and perhaps they knew not better, and war was the only thing they understood – a bit like the Americans today? Perhaps one must be more careful with the way we teach the restored gospel these days – not to confuse those little ones who really want to serve God (see video below). He that hath an ear, let him hear.
Here are the different results of my searches:
“jesus + war” = Rev. 12:17
“jesus + warrior” = no result
“jesus + sword” = Mat. 26:51-52, 55
“jesus + fight” = John 18:36
“jesus + armies” = no result
“jesus + slay” = John 5:16