Today is Good Friday, the day in Western Christian traditions that commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. This day is most widely understood as a personal sacrifice that Jesus took on to atone for the sins of the world.

Rev. Dr. Caleb J. Lines argues there’s more to the story. “Holy Week is the most misunderstood week of the Christian year. It is not about Jesus’ death for the atonement of sins, it is about following the path of Jesus by standing up to the domination systems of the world no matter the cost. Jesus confronted political and religious hypocrisy with such fierce commitment that he was executed.”

Jesus was murdered by the empire for exposing the cracks in their structures of power. Jesus consented to this execution of state violence as an act of love and solidarity with the oppressed.

This brave confrontation of power and deep understanding of human suffering reminds me of Aaron Bushnell, a US soldier who self-immolated; ultimately killed by a government that asked of him to commit unbelievable atrocities. It reminds me of Nex Benedict, a nonbinary teen who was assaulted by school bullies and effectively murdered by state policies that dehumanize queer identities. It reminds me of Shireen Abu Akleh, who fearlessly reported on the Israeli occupation while knowing her murder would go uncontested and with complete impunity. It reminds me of all the Black, Queer, Muslim, and Indigenous communities who stand up to empire with their bodies and their existence as resistance against the powers of oppression and death. 

And right now it reminds me of the people of Gaza, who are not only standing courageously in the face of Israel’s settler-colonial project of ethnic cleansing and genocide but also unmasking the western world of its political apathy and racist double standards of human rights. 

So today, in memory of Jesus’ liberating act of justice, let us repent of the ways that Christian tradition upholds and perpetuates systems of oppression, and live into forces of radical love, courageous witness, and brave confrontation.

Hannah Redekop

Hannah Redekop

CPT Communications Associate

Send Hannah a note: peacemakers@cpt.org

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