Arguably the killing of Jesus Christ was the most avenged killing in history. There is no other person for whom there were so many other people killed in the name of retaliation.

In Russian Empire the oppression of Jews was explicitly justified because of their complicity in Jesus' murder.

I wonder whether those Christians who thought that somebody, either modern or ancient, is guilty in killing Jesus, really believe in his resurrection and immortality?

How can one avenge a murder of an immortal? Or do those Christians believe in resurrection of Christ only metaphorically/figuratively? Do they think that he was resurrected in the body of the Church or in the spirits of Christians rather than physically?

An analogy: your father dead. You think that you or someone else is guilty. Then God miracliously resurrects your father. Do you still feel remorse, guilt or desire for revenge?

Is not desire for revenge actually a disbelief in real resurrection?

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    This has always kind of bugged me. Even if we insist on a literal interpretation of scripture, like the part where it says that the sins of the fathers be upon the heads of the children even unto the third and fourth generation, doesn't that mean that the statute of limitations expired long before the practice of persecution of Jews for the killing of Christ even got started?
    – Mason Wheeler
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:50
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    This is an important question. It would help to provide documentation of the oppression you are talking about, but I know that it happened. I'm sure it still is happening somewhere in the world. I suspect, however that most antisemitism uses Christian theology as an after-the-fact justification rather then stemming from Christian belief a priori. (But I can't back that up, so this comment isn't a real answer.) Dec 6, 2012 at 0:56
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    Welcome to the site! I'd invite you to read the FAQ. As it stands, this question isn't really a good fit for the site. It's interesting, but not definitively, objectively answerable other than by speculation. It also reads like a "refute this" question. Should we avoid “refute this”-type questions? Dec 6, 2012 at 3:56
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    I think it’s a perfectly valid question, objectively answerable with reference to scripture or official dogma, and downvoting it will only help to give the impression that Christians are working to hide the inconsistencies in their theology.
    – Timwi
    Dec 7, 2012 at 8:35
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    @Jon, well I guess we can safely say that no Muslims are avenging the crucifixion...
    – Benjol
    Dec 7, 2012 at 14:07

5 Answers 5


That is a very good question! Like you, those of us in the historic peace churches do not believe that Jesus' death can or should be avenged by violence. After all, it was Jesus himself who said that vengeance belonged to him alone.

And if we were to avenge his death, who is guilty? Rather, who is not guilty? If we really believe that Jesus died for our sins, then are we not all responsible for his death?

Antisemitism is a shameful reality in the history of Christianity and I agree that the "Jews killed Jesus" finger-pointing implies a certain disbelief. But how like human nature to point fingers at others and hope that it will assuage the guilt within ourselves! I somehow doubt that those Christians have gotten far enough to consider the Resurrection. For them Christ is still on the cross and justice must be taken into their own hands.

  • Who are the "historic peace churches"?
    – Caleb
    Dec 7, 2012 at 7:46
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    "Peace churches" are Christian churches who teach the doctrines of nonviolence and nonresistance. The three historic peace churches are usually known as the Mennonites, Quakers and Brethren.
    – Jessica G.
    Dec 7, 2012 at 21:42

Nnowhere in scripture, or any Christian theology that I know of, are Christians commanded to avenge Christ's killing. In fact there is good evidence to say that God opposes it: "'Vengence is mine', sayeth the Lord". So any Christians who are taking revenge on any group because they believe them to be responsible for Jesus' death are not acting according to Christian principles. I'm not of course saying it hasn't happened - but since it's not in accordance with Christian principles then you aren't going to find any logical or theological justification.

  • "'Vengence is mine', sayeth the Lord" - some groups interpret it as to mean that people who avenge Christ killing are perpetrating God's will or guided by God or that God does the vegenance with their hands or that the vegenance is not just their own desire but blessed by God so even if somebody wanted to stop the hostilities, it would be impossible and contrary to what God wants.
    – Anixx
    Oct 16, 2015 at 3:28

It is a stretch to call the "retaliation" you mention a response to Jesus' murder. It is more accurately described as a response to differing belief systems, oppression of belief, etc. It is also widely accepted that early Christians were at least themselves convinced that Jesus physically resurrected, so it would take a lot more than psychology based speculation to overturn our current understanding.

Furthermore, the analogy you offered is a bit misleading. You talk about a father's "death" but Jesus' "murder." If someone watched their father get murdered, and then resurrected, I would imagine they would at first feel joy and awe (as the early Christians did), and later, especially after the father was gone, begin to feel anger and possibly vengeful (depending on who it was).

I think the major flaw in your reasoning is that it seems to assume that the desirability of the outcome of an event erases the bad intentions of those who brought it about. That's simply not true.

  • Well it was officially a retaliation for Jesus murder at least in Russian Empire. For example, Karaites conviced the Tsar that they were not guilty in killing Jesus Christ even if they worship Torah so to ret rid of restrictions. They had to proove that they were not Jews by blood.
    – Anixx
    Dec 6, 2012 at 7:23
  • That seems like a very small sample size on which to base an argument with such wide implications. However, it still doesn't strike me as illogical that a group of Christians (even hypothetically) would be upset at a group that wanted to kill who they consider to be God.
    – Señor O
    Dec 6, 2012 at 7:28

My opinion on the matter is based on 2 assumptions:

  • We are humans and we have a tendency to misunderstand events.
  • Knowledge of Jesus' death is very widespread.

With these two assumptions in mind, my opinion is almost guessable...

As a Christian I believe that Jesus died for my sins, because of my sins; if we were sinless, Jesus would have died for nothing. So, to summarize, I (and other Christians I know) believe that I killed Jesus, by being a sinner -- the reason he died. So, in my mind, the Jews are just as responsible for Jesus' death as I am.

Now, because so many people know of Jesus' death and people have a tendency to misunderstand things they see the Jews as being the murderers of Christ without looking deeper. They see the action, but they ignore the cause; they are judging the effect but not the affecter. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation, and it is sad that anyone would be inclined to seek "vengeance" for such things. This is, of course, just my opinion.

  • As a Christian do you believe that he died, even being God? Even if he died and then miracliously resurrected, do you feel remorse for his death? Or do you think his resurrection was not real?
    – Anixx
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:57
  • An analogy: your father dead. You think that you or someone else is guilty. Then God miracliously resurrects your father. Do you still feel remorse, guilt or desire for revenge?
    – Anixx
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:59
  • I believe that Jesus was of two forms: human and divine. Humans can die, so yes, he died (if you are considering death to be the loss of vital function on earth). Since I believe it was my sin that separates God and I, and caused Christ's death then yes, I do feel remorse for his death.
    – mjgpy3
    Dec 6, 2012 at 1:04
  • so you do not believe that he physically resurrected, yes?
    – Anixx
    Dec 6, 2012 at 1:05
  • Yes, I do believe that he was physically resurrected.
    – mjgpy3
    Dec 6, 2012 at 1:05

I don't think I've ever heard the argument phrased in quite this way, but Antisemitism is un-Christian. As it happens, I was thinking of this question while studying one of the standard Advent texts:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

—Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)

The first verse should be a familiar text to most Christians. We believe that Jesus was and is that child. The title is, perhaps, the best expression of what Christians believe about Jesus that isn't written in the New Testament. It's also an important piece in the Trinitarian puzzle. The messianic application of the passage to Jesus won't likely be abandoned by many Christians.

The second verse is equally powerful and theologically useful, but it includes some phrases that should be troubling to those who espouse the view mentioned in the question:

  • "the throne of David"

    The kingdom Jesus will establish is Davidic and that means Jewish. In both the New and the Old Testaments, it's clear that the King appointed by God will be a descendant of Abraham via Judah and David. Both Luke and Matthew show that Jesus fit that lineage.

  • "with justice and with righteousness"

    If justice is to be served by punishing the decedents of the people who crucified Jesus, then it will be the Davidic king who will establish righteousness. But I don't believe that justice would be served. Jesus did not condemn children for their parent's sin:

    And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”—John 9:2-5 (ESV)

  • "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."

    Again, the Kingdom of God is advanced by God and not merely by the will of people. Christians believe (and rightly so) that we are the vanguard of God's Kingdom. But Jesus never commanded us to kill His enemies. Rather, we are able to help Him break into the world with kindness:

    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.—Romans 12:14-21 (ESV)

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