Candidate and ordained minister the Reverend Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee find support for capital punishment in the death of Jesus:
Interestingly enough, if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, "This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency."
After all, if Jesus wasn't OK with it, he might have prayed "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want." Oh, yeah, he did - as documented in Matthew 39
, Mark 14:36-39
, and Luke 22:42-44
Well, why didn't he say something about his unjust treatment on the cross, like "you guys are wrong" or, knowing his gracious nature, "Father, forgive them." Oh, yeah, he did - as documented in Luke 23:34
Yet if we are going to use the death of Jesus, who by tradition and faith was innocent and blameless, as justification for capital punishment, it is only a minor step to say that it justifies the execution of the innocent.
That's the problem with using past violence to justify violence in the present - it assumes we cannot learn a better way. The rule of "an eye for an eye" was meant as a limit - that one could not extract more in vengeance than the initial harm. Yet even "eye for an eye" leads to the eternal violence of retaliation.
There is a better way - the way of deescalation, of relaxing the tensions, of mending relationships. That does not mean we should let murderers go free - but it means that revenge does not offer anything more than temporary satiation of our own blood lust.
I cannot make my enemy stop hating me by killing his loved ones.