Was Jesus a victim?

Taking the position of the victim is a popular offensive today. It is a way to turn the tables and draw sympathy from others. Kevin DeYoung posted a great article on this very subject – Why Are We So Offended All the Time? (cross-post). In his post he made the following statement.

As Christians, we worship a victimized Lord.

His post was very good in pointing out how the victim card is often played in today’s culture. DeYoung encouraged Christians not to be so easily offended and play the victim. Very encouraging words, but when it comes to Jesus being victimized?

I disagree.

To be fair, brother DeYoung was not addressing nor expounding on the above quote. It was merely in the greater context.

Scripture records Jesus as being in control. He came to be a sacrifice according to God’s sovereign plan. One might argue that Jesus was a victim of sinful men who acted against the law persecuting an innocent man. Even at this level God was in control.

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  Acts 2:23 (ESV)

This is contrary to a victim taken by some religious group to make a human sacrifice. Or someone who is assaulted against their will.

After having Jesus flogged and declaring Him innocent Pilate was told he had no authority over Jesus.

He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above…” John 19:9-11 (ESV)

This simple interaction shows that Jesus was not a victim. His answer to Pilate’s veiled offer of potential release was to put Pilate in his place. Jesus in essence took away what authority Pilate thought he had. Pilate had no bargaining chips to offer Jesus who did not look for a way out of the false imprisonment as a victim would.

Jesus most explicit statement of authority showing He is not a victim comes from the Gospel of John.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down a of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18 (ESV)

I agree with DeYoung when he said the following.

So buck up brothers and sisters. Most often in this country, we are not victims because of our faith.

Not only are Christians not often victims, we are ultimately not victims. This is because Jesus was not a victim but had all authority on heaven and earth. Jesus has won the battle over sin and death for us. He willing took God’s wrath for all who believe.

Christians need not play the victim.

Let's connect!

tagged as in Church Issues,Culture,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ThomasTwitchell January 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I would have to agree, Mark, Jesus wasn’t victimized. He was a provocateur. He affirmatively engaged the enemy. Their reaction was retaliation, not victimization. Victimization carries with it the meaning of unprovoked assault on a person’s person, character, or possessions. In Jesus case, his determined purpose was to send a sword, to set one side against the other. It either elicited love, or hate. He wasn’t innocent, or hapless.

We are not victims, but we should make our selves more provocative than we are. We just not like to, because we might be victimized.

2 Mark Lamprecht January 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Thanks Thomas. I think we are afraid of being victimized which takes away from acting boldly.


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