Jesus does not seek to defend the interests of the poor and the oppressed in Palestine by organizing armed resistance against the Romans or against the privileged Jewish collaborators with Roman authority. Armed defense is not the way of Jesus. There is no foundation whatever in the Gospels for the notion that violence in defense of a third party is justifiable.
Dean of Duke Divinity School and Ivey Professor of New Testament
However, all Christlike means to defend the poor, the oppressed and the third party, up to and including laying down one’s life, or some segment of it, are available for use by the Christian and Christian community and ought to be utilized. The choice of Christlike means may on some occasions result in death in one form or another, but such is also the case with choosing non-Christlike means, e.g., violence. But, to reject the means of violence in defense of self or the other and risk death to oneself or the others rest squarely on a person’s answer to the question of authority with which Jesus confronts Peter, “Who do you say I am?” If a person responds as Peter did, “You are the Messiah, the Christ the Son of the living God…Where else can we go, you have the words of life,” then that person can live securely under the authority of Resurrected Jesus’ counter-intuitive wisdom, which reject violence even in an earthly life and death moment.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy