675: JUST JESUS #15: Perfect non-violence by John Dear

Just Jesus, No God!

Expelled from the Jesuits, John Dear has made a name for himself worldwide with his uncompromising stand on the issue of non-violence. I’m told he once described Jesus as “a one-man crime wave moving across the country.” This is an extract from his book ‘Put Down Your Sword’.

“Just at that precise moment, as Peter raises the sword to kill in order to protect Jesus, the commandment comes down: “Put down the sword!”

I think this is also the moment when the disciples finally understand Jesus and his teachings. They suddenly realise that he is deadly serious about peace, love and non-violence. He’s so committed to non-violence that he’s not even going to defend himself with violence. I imagine them agape as this revelation unfolds before them. What do they do? They immediately run off, every man for himself.

And Jesus? He’s arrested, jailed, mocked, tried, tortured and executed, and he never once strikes back with retaliatory violence, never once explodes with anger, never once condemns anyone. He’s unarmed, nonviolent, vulnerable, alone and prayerful. As he dies, he shows compassion on his murderers and forgives them. As Gandhi noted, Jesus practiced the most perfect nonviolence in history. I regard Jesus as the incarnation of nonviolence, the embodiment of the God of love and peace. He teaches us everything – how to live, how to love, how to pray, how to suffer, how to die – everything except how to kill.”


Dear, J. “Put down your sword.Answering the gospel call to creative non-violence.” Eerdmans (2008) p.4


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