Closing the Book on Vengeance

Jesus didn’t come to bring vengeance; he came to close the book on vengeance. Jesus announced the Jubilee good news of pardon, amnesty, liberation, and restoration. Jesus doesn’t bless revenge; he blesses mercy and teaches that the mercy we show to our enemies is the mercy that will be shown to us. God does not allow us to hope that the book of divine vengeance will be closed for us but left open and inflicted in full upon others. This is not how it works in God’s economy of grace revealed by Jesus.

Does this mean there’s no divine judgement? Of course not. Certainly there is divine judgment, but it is a judgment based on God’s love and commitment to restoration. The restorative judgment of God gives no warrant to a schadenfreude yearning to see harm inflicted on others. Jesus has closed the book on that kind of lust for vengeance.

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 44

[Photo: Kilchurn Castle, Scotland, July 14, 2003]

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