Kidnapping Jesus at Gunpoint

I turned on the T.V. today and saw the horrible news: They’ve kidnapped Jesus at gunpoint.

Not terrorists or Atheists or Muslims or career criminals—but American Christians.

The image on the screen is heart-wrenching and horrible to witness.

They’ve got guns in their hands and Scriptures on their lips, and they’re violently twisting his words until I can’t even recognize them anymore.

They’re wearing holsters and crosses, bullets and Bibles.

They stand there, surrounding him, claiming to speak for him.

They yell a lot about freedom, but it doesn’t sound at all like the kind he spoke about, at least not from the stories his friends wrote about him.

They shout and beat their chests, they raise their barrels to the sky in proud defiance, saying we’ll have to pry them from their “cold dead hands”—and tell us that Jesus is good with it all.

And the whole time, he just sits there.

All the while they bluster and spit, he does nothing.

He just takes it.

He doesn’t defend himself.

I think that’s what infuriates me the most.

I mean, I know who he is.

He could wave his hand and put them all in their places.

He could speak a word and level every one of them.

He could silence his captors in a heartbeat; drop them where they stand and simply get up and walk out of that room.

Then I’m reminded of him in the Garden of Gethsemene, refusing to fight back.

I’m reminded that escaping pain was never his style.

Nor was forcing those who disagreed with him to comply.

Or retribution, revenge, or even self-defense.

He didn’t go for power plays or displays of toughness or acts of aggression or retaliatory strikes.

No, his way was never with might—but with mercy. 

You see, as much as I want to, I can’t get angry at Jesus for not meeting their violence with more violence, because I remember.

I remember what he taught me; what he taught the multitudes on that hillside.

He was the one who spoke of turning the other cheek.

He was the one who warned not to resist an evil person.

He talked of the blessedness of those who make peace, of praying for those who would damage you, of sacrificially laying down one’s life, of fearing not the one who can destroy the body—but the one who can destroy the soul.

The Jesus I remember didn’t seek soldiers; he called loving followers.

The Jesus I remember didn’t come to build an army, but to bring a way of living abundantly.

The Jesus I remember, stepped onto the planet and showed us the sacredness of the least and the last and the low.

He made it clear that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, would leave us all only blind and toothless; helpless and disfigured—ever darkened and groping vainly for the path.

He chastised the one who used the sword in his defense, even though doing so would take him to a place of unearned horror, undeserved agony, unnecessary torture.

Yet for all the ways that he preached these things, he spoke most loudly through his choices.

He chose to serve.

He chose to humble himself.

He chose to sacrifice.

He chose The Cross.

Jesus’ power was always most beautifully visible in restraint.

His strength most clearly shown, in submission.

His glory brightest, when he allowed it to be buried.

I realize that for him to do anything else now to these gunslingers commandeering his name would be proving them right, it would be blessing further aggression. 

It would take everything he stood for, and turn it to ashes in a shotgun blast instant of justifiable force.

And so, while it tears me up to see them hijack his name and hold his words hostage—I will not be overcome with sadness.

I will not lose heart and I will not relent.

I will simply follow his nonviolent benevolent lead.

I will love those who are difficult to love, even those who claim to speak for him in a tongue I do not recognize as his.

I will pray for those who would trust in chariots and swords.

I will fight their swords with his words.

I will respond to force with forgiveness.

I will choose to remember that ours is not a battle with flesh and blood, it is the fight to hold on to our souls—and those require very different weapons.

And I will face the fears and dangers of this life, armed with only faith, hope and love… and trust that they are enough.


Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

32 thoughts on “Kidnapping Jesus at Gunpoint

  1. This is exactly why I am able to get out of bed every morning, first to give thanks for a new day, then to pray, then to serve God as I believe I am called to Celebrate What Christians Have in Common on Facebook, recalling Christians that despite whatever theological difference we perceive, we have far more in common than not because Jesus is.

    Refreshed in spirit, I turn my attention to doing what I can to stand with Jesus against all the turmoils of the day that seek to separate His followers from Him by posting on Facebook to Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff.

    All are welcome to join.

  2. I love you.

    I’m just going to start all my comments with I love you from now on.

    It is so heart-stirring and reassuring to read the way you speak for me, and for so many of us.

    Keep up the good work, my brother in ministry!

  3. YOU or anyone else cannot hold Jesus at Gunpoint
    Jesus is Free to All , Paid the Price for all sin.
    and wants you and all sinners back.
    Death is the only time you have no chance of salvation.
    UNTIL Death you have to accept, turn to , change , repent, ask for , cry out for , have a change in life.
    God will NOT hold who ever guiltless for thier actions.
    HE God knows YUR heart and all those who will come to Him.
    He God knows his own, and those who truly believe.
    NO Games, No Drama, NO Show , Just True Salvation that leads to eternal Life , ONLY thru Jesus Christ , Price for our sin.
    Dont Ever ,. nomater Temp God,
    He is not blind to evil and give s a Just reward for Rebellion against Him, God, Jesus Christ
    YOUR Choice
    Who will you serve
    Who will You follow
    Who will YOU trust

  4. And forgive them.

    They should know what they’re doing but have forgotten or chosen another way. Christ’s character and teachings are direct but they’ve chosen the easier path of self.

  5. Yes! The truth! There were times that Jesus responded with other than restraint, foregiveness and mercy. That too, is the truth.

  6. John. I think this old song by the Eagles captures some of what you are thinking here. Indeed, I am wondering if Stephen Paddock got this song lodged in his head, began to see himself as an outlaw man who wanted to go out in a blaze of “glory,” and tried to live out this song in 9 minutes in Las Vegas. Pay close attention to the lyrics and remember that he was the son of a famous bank robber who spent time on the FBI Most Wanted list:

    • Now that your guru has informed you that Jesus doesn’t want you to defend yourself or your family, are you going to destroy that shotgun I know you own? I hope you realize now that it’s evil and might just hop into town some day and start shooting at people. Besides that, you might be tempted to “gun lust” and use it to cheat on your wife (if you haven’t already).

      Toss it in the river, Charles!

  7. I should not watch the news any longer.

    I had the briefest moment of fear and utter dismay.

    I’ve spent the better part of a life’s work faithfully, and in direct peril, “defending and protecting” my community. And it now appears I’m spiraling toward the inevitability of being “McCarthy’d”, named an LGBTQ criminal, with the real prospect of being arrested… or worse.

    Ouch. I repent of my lack of trust and fear.


  8. It just gets worse and worse. Looking across the pond I am horrified to see a society that find guns acceptable. I can only imagine how I would feel if I knew that the man next door, and the one next door to him, possessed guns and would be prepared to use them, because if you are happy to have a gun then you are prepared to kill someone. To my mind it is sick, and doubly so when these people claim to be Christians. Do these people take their guns with them when they go to church? Do they not know that anyone who claims to follow Jesus is required to act like him? Would Jesus carry a gun and be prepared to use it? NO,NO,NO.
    I know that there are those of you in the US who are equally horrified, and are hanging in there tooth and nail to speak out against the horror that is happening in front of your eyes.
    We are all fighting for our very souls.
    God bless and keep us all.

    • Joe, studies have shown that most guns are not readily available to the homeowner – that by the time they get to it and get the safety off, they’re probably going to be too late. But do go on parroting the NRA line.

  9. Thankfully, fortunately, gratefully, you and most of the other new ‘brood of vipers’ that seek to distort and diminish the Gospel and the Bible are diminishing in popularity and impact. In a short while, you and the rest will be overcome by the Truth and the Blood, and all your deception will be exposed. Your trite little quips, digs and analogies make a mockery of Jesus and our faith. No matter . . . your days of deception are numbered. The trumpet will sound soon enough. I hope and pray that you are ready . . . but I have my doubts . . . for you are steeped in self-centeredness and self-delusion. Nevertheless, I pray you to come to know Him who loves you and yearns for you to abide in Him. Peace.

    • Mark. These are not the end times. The Trump regime will implode inward against itself. Christians like you will be left out in the cold naked and with egg on your faces—and Jesus will not be standing on your side. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are doomed because they have abandoned the Jesus of the New Testament in heart while giving him hollow lip service. If you think blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white, gun-toting, red state Jesus is the Jesus of the New Testament, I would suggest investing in asbestos clothing.

      P.S. I have watched your pathetic “attempts” at preaching on You Tube. I would suggest that two or three college degrees in divinity (no—not the pecan kind!!!) from an institution like Duke University would straighten you out. Take three of those pills and call me in about 8 years.

      • Charles, you crack me up. Ha! Divinity. Now don’t go dissing pecan divinity… Is one of my favs. Stuckey University- rah! 💕

  10. John, thank you so much for your words. They moved me to tears. I don’t know if I have the strength. God called for me to FIGHT BACK and I know in my sin I have craved violence. I do my best to teach love, compassion, hope, and understanding to all but in my heart I want to attack. I have been waiting for Him to call me to this, in vain, because I know it is my own desire. What you preach is difficult and as such necessary. I will not say that I am reinvigorated but I am humbled and learning from your words. Thank you for sharing them. You don’t walk alone.

    • Fighting back does not require violence. The spoken and written word are powerful weapons against the darkness that sat in those 32nd floor windows. It is more powerful than American gun culture too. All will all be put right one day. It just takes time.

  11. It amazes me that so many who profess Christian faith in this culture worship guns while claiming to follow the Prince of Peace!

  12. Your posts that don’t include the cross sometimes seem foolish or crass to me.

    Your posts that do include it make a lot of sense.

    Thanks for sharing this in a way that makes sense to me. Peace, brotha!

  13. This is truth that we all should digest. Relatable for all, whether there is a belief in His diety or not. As an American who is a Christian, I just want to speak up that not all of us are gun-toting, hate spewing individuals who want the world to follow our own agenda. Many of us are trying our best to live life modeling His choices and actions, giving back to community, loving others, praying for our enemies. We are putting work to our words and belief in better things. Some of us are just as embarrassed and sad as those who don’t know Him and wonder why people would follow a Jesus who claims pro life but walks by a homeless man (which He never did). Thanks for writing this raw and beautiful post. May it help us all search our heart on our actions.

    • Chris.

      Pastor JP advocates for a ‘Police State’ (like N Korea), where only the police and the military have firearms. Most Christians prefer that we keep our Constitution. Not so we can kill people, but so we can defend ourselves, and also more importantly, keep balance of power where it belongs, with the Citizenry.

      32,000 people were killed last year from guns, 20,000 of those were suicides. Last year, 88,000 deaths were alcohol related. Last year 800,000+ deaths were caused by surgical & chemical abortions. And there were 37,000 deaths from car accidents.

      Pastor John wants to outlaw guns for citizens, but does he want to outlaw senseless deaths from alcohol, abortions, and the automobile? Why not?

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