"Was Jesus a pacifist?"
Answer: A pacifist is someone who is opposed to violence, especially war, for any purpose. A pacifist often refuses to bear arms for reasons of conscience or religious conviction.
Jesus is the “prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6) in that He will one day bring true and lasting peace to the earth. And His message in this world was remarkably non-violent (Matthew 5:38–44). But the Bible is clear that sometimes war is necessary (see Psalm 144:1). And, given some of the Bible’s prophecies of Jesus, it is hard to call Him a pacifist. Revelation 19:15, speaking of Jesus, declares, “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” The setting up of Jesus’ millennial kingdom will necessitate violence in the form of a war waged against the forces of the Antichrist. Jesus’ robe will be “dipped in blood” (Revelation 19:13).
In Jesus’ interaction with the Roman centurion, Jesus received the soldier’s praise, healed his servant, and commended him for his faith (Matthew 8:5–13). What Jesus did not do was tell the centurion to quit the army—for the simple reason that Jesus was not preaching pacifism. John the Baptist also encountered soldiers, and they asked him, “What should we do?” (Luke 3:14). This would have been the perfect opportunity for John to tell them to lay down their arms. But he did not. Rather, John told the soldiers, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”