Given the multiplying and intensifying global systemic crises (ecological, financial, etc.), the question of revolution resurfaces. The paper addresses a crucial dimension of this question: the issue of revolutionary leadership. Two exemplary leaders are analysed: Jesus of Nazareth and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. The key purpose of the analysis is to show how these 'pure-hearted' leaders were 'paradoxically' willing to employ 'dirty hands', which in this context denotes revolutionary violence. Consequently, while peaceful approaches to structural transformation are obviously preferable, revolutionary violence should remain an ethical option. dimension of hate; and (iii) confirmation that Jesus was a political revolutionary. The paper is innovative and valuable in several respects: (i) it dares to broach the question of revolution; (ii) it shows how 'the ethical' may be inclusive of ethical violence; (iii) it challenges mainstream perceptions of Jesus as strictly a religious/apolitical figure, recalling and foregrounding his radical political dimension.