Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. ( Matthew 26:52)
Jordan has hanged two terrorist in response to a video released by ISIS that shows a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage. It is not possible to hear about such violent acts, as the burning of the pilot, and not desire justice. I would imagine that the hanging of these two has brought about a sense of justice for some.
Situations like this lead to debates among Christians about what is right or wrong when it comes to punishing people for their crimes. Our minds become flooded with passages of scripture; An eye for an eye…, a life for a life…, forgive that you may be forgiven…, love your enemies… So what are we to do?
Jesus left know doubt that He did not come to destroy His enemies, as a matter of a fact, He came to save us while we were yet His enemies (Romans 5:10). We also know from scripture that God is not willing that any should parish, but that all should come to repentance. These verses do not however relieve a person from the consequences of their actions. In Matthew 26 Jesus states the law of cause and effect when He says that anyone who lives by the sword will die by the sword. We have a tendency to want to spiritualize every verse in the Bible, but the truth is God has made a world that runs on simple laws and principles, and this is one of them.
We need to pray for peace, we need to use every available resource to spread the gospel, and we need to study the Word, so that we can obey every command of Jesus. We do not need to become overwhelmed by the evil that seems to be overtaking the world. We do not need to be confused about our responsibility to defend murderers. All people who hear the gospel are offered forgiveness, but all people are also responsible for their choices. While it is certainly difficult, we are to remain neutral, not in the offering of forgiveness, or in the sharing of the gospel, but when it comes to the punishment of evil actions we are to let the authorities do what they have been put in place to do. If Jesus had wanted to end capital punishment He would have called together an army to overthrow the governments of the world.
Make no mistake, God is not satisfied with these events. He loves us so much that He gave us His Son. It is simply a matter of fact that the choices we make have consequences, and the consequence of murder is death in many cases. As children of God we must not rejoice in death, and we must not interfere with a governments right to hold people accountable.