Revenge… the word rolls softly off your tongue and curls around the imagined enemy. The world will be a better place when I find a way to put them in their place. Have you ever felt that way?

It seems that we never tire of ‘revenge’ stories.  TV shows and movies stir our passions as the underdog gets back at the villain.  We feel satisfied when the bad guy gets killed or arrested.

This is not just the stuff of movies, though.  History has many examples of revenge at its finest.

At one point early in Julius Caesar's political career, feelings ran so high against him that he thought it best to leave Rome. He sailed for the Aegean island of Rhodes, but en route the ship was attacked by pirates and Caesar was captured. The pirates demanded a ransom of 12,000 gold pieces, and Caesar's staff was sent away to arrange the payment. Caesar spent almost 40 days with his captors, jokingly telling the pirates on several occasions that he would someday capture and crucify them to a man. The kidnappers were greatly amused, but when the ransom was paid and Caesar was freed, the first thing he did was gather a fleet and pursue the pirates. They were captured and crucified ... to a man!
Such was the Romans' attitude toward crucifixion. It was to be reserved for the worst of criminals, a means of showing extreme contempt for the condemned. The suffering and humiliation of a Roman crucifixion were unequaled. 
(Today in the Word, November 23, 1992)

This is the revenge-crazed world that Jesus was born into.  And before Jesus was crucified, he had time to teach a way to de-escalate the violence and blood-thirst of humanity.