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Who Would Jesus Execute?

Scriptures support capital punishment?

Those that are religious that support the death penalty often quote verses from Scripture “supporting” capital punishment.

Please. You don’t have to quote Scripture to me. I have read those verses. I have studied those verses. But to elevate isolated verses and isolated stories to contend that God allows and even commands capital punishment is dangerous. To not be open to the remote possibility that the Scriptures is written within a social construct and with subjectivity and always interpreted through some sort of human lens is dangerous. Perhaps, George Bernard Shaw’s commentary is apropos to this conversation:

“God created us in his image, and we decided to return the favor.”

I believe in the authority of the Scriptures.  I believe in the Word of God.  But I also believe that the Bible was written in context and culture and subsequently, we must – with deep prayer and discernment – study, interpret, and be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Let’s be honest:

If the Bible were easy to interpret, we wouldn’t need to study, teach, preach, write, exegete, etc.

Many will say that reading the Bible in such a way is dangerous because it leads us to a “slippery slope.”

Umm, interpreting the Bible as the Word of God is serious business.  Anytime we attempt to speak on behalf of God is serious. Period.

But more importantly, we celebrate the Scriptures as God’s revelation but certainly, not as the ultimate or exclusive expression of God’s revelation. More specifically, we are grateful for the Scriptures but we do not worship the Scriptures. The Bible does not redeem us, save us; The Bible did not go to the cross for us. The Bible instead, testifies and points to the incarnation and embodiment of a Savior.

We have a Savior and his name is Jesus.

And his life, words, and ministry all testify to a God, and a Way, and a Kingdom that is beyond what the religious elite and experts understood to be the ways of God.

But if Christians believe in Jesus, follow Jesus, and worship Jesus…

I wonder this question:

Who would Jesus execute?

We know Christ was brutally executed but who would Jesus execute?

Some will criticize the oversimplification of the above question and my thought process but perhaps, we are overcomplexifying the fundamental truth that “life is sacred.”

And by life…I mean, that all life, is sacred. Even the life of a Troy Davis.

It is my hope that “Christians” who believe in the sanctity of life would lead the way to finally put to the death the death penalty.

Troy Davis’ final words just before his execution were as follows:

I’d like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls.

Know this. Last night, another person was to be executed in Texas [but received another stay by the US Supreme Court] and on this day, another person is to be executed in the State of Alabama.

Please. Let’s not reduce the life of Troy Davis to a 48 hour frenzy of social media. Let’s all re-commit ourselves to human dignity and justice.

Editor’s Note: We encourage you to share your view in the Comment section below.

Eugene Cho, a second-generation Korean-American, is the founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and the executive director of Q Cafe, an innovative nonprofit neighborhood café and music venue. You can follow him at his blogTwitter, or his Facebook Page. Eugene and his wife are also the founders of One Day’s Wages, a movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.