Fortress Press

A Revolutionary Jesus: Violence and Peacemaking in the Kingdom of God

A Revolutionary Jesus

Violence and Peacemaking in the Kingdom of God

Jesse P. Nickel (Author)


Available September 24, 2024

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This book is about Jesus's perspective on violence, the ways this is demonstrated in his ministry, and its implications for Jesus's followers. It begins by examining the nature and role of violence within Second Temple Jewish eschatology. "Eschatological violence"--violence connected in some way with eschatological expectations--was an important factor in the world of Jesus and his contemporaries. Many believed that God's long-awaited deliverance was contingent on his people's taking up the sword against their oppressors, thus demonstrating their zealous allegiance to the covenant. In contrast, Jesus articulated and enacted a vision for God's reign in which violence was completely disassociated both from the means of the kingdom's inauguration and from the character of those who belonged to it. This was a kingdom defined by peace, whose people would be identified by peacemaking, exemplified by its Lord, whose victory was accomplished in giving his own life. Jesus's rejection of violence thus grew from the very core of his understanding of his task, his identity, and the character of the kingdom. To be a disciple is to follow Jesus's teaching and example. Therefore, it is clear that violence should have no place in Christian praxis.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506483351
  • eBook ISBN 9781506483368
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 234
  • Publication Date September 24, 2024


Jesse Nickel gives a clear and convincing argument that the gospels present Jesus as a peacemaker. Not only this, but Nickel also connects Jesus's anti-violence posture to that of the Christian. The result is an exegetically based challenge for the church to put peace at the center of Christian identity and practice. This study has a rare combination of implications; it contributes to gospel scholarship while also offering practical implications for the church today.

Elizabeth E. Shively, professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

With careful attention to Scripture and historical context, Jesse Nickel offers a thorough account of the Jesus whose life, witness, and teaching are peace. As the church grows increasingly comfortable with violence, Nickel turns us back to the center of our faith--the redemption of all things.

Melissa Florer-Bixler, Mennonite pastor, and author of How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace

The way of violence and the way of peace--they are incompatible. Peace doesn't come through strength, and violence doesn't give rise to peace or the kingdom. Both Rome and the Rome-infested political powers of Judea in the first century were too bent on violence, and neither led to a lasting peace. Jesus was a consistent and thorough advocate of peace. Jesse Nickel's A Revolutionary Jesus both updates a minority strand of Jesus and Christian scholarship and also extends Jesus studies by a more careful discussion of the problem of violence. I really like this book, and hope many will.

Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Though Jesus's teaching on nonviolence is downplayed if not completely ignored by large segments of the church today, A Revolutionary Jesus makes a compelling and comprehensive case for a commitment to nonviolence as lying at the very heart of Jesus's teachings and example. For this reason, this commitment lies at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I recommend this work for pacifists and non-pacifists alike.

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church, Maplewood, Minnesota; author of The Myth of a Christian Nation and coauthor of Letters from a Skeptic