This is a rerun from 2006. Long time readers: Try to look surprised.
In light of Mel Gibson’s alcohol-fueled anti-semitic comments as well as an article in the Houston Chronical religion section that referred to stupid things Christians sometimes say to Jewish people, I thought it would be worth posting this from my Christian FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page.
Q. What does the Bible teach about how Christians should act towards Jewish people? There has been so much hostility towards them over the centuries.
A. Many Christians are very kind to Jewish people and are Israel’s staunchest defenders. However, throughout history, some unthinking Christians (or at least people who have called themselves Christians) have blamed the Jewish people for killing Jesus. If anyone blames “the Jews” for killing Jesus or is unkind to Jewish people, they should consider the following:
Jesus was Jewish.
The apostles were Jewish.
Nearly every author of the Bible was Jewish.
The Israelites were chosen by God to be His people, and they received the first covenant. God still feels fondly towards them.
Only some Jewish people wanted Jesus killed. Blaming all Jewish people for Jesus’ death is as illogical as blaming all males, since only males (Jewish and Roman) are recorded as having been involved with his death.
The Apostle Paul cared so much for the Jews that he would have given up his own salvation if it meant that more Jews would follow Christ.
The New Testament clearly states that Jesus came first for the Jews, then for the gentiles.
Jesus was the Messiah predicted by over 100 prophecies in the Old Testament.
Jesus would not condone hurting others in His name.
Since Jesus died for our sins, we all killed Jesus as surely as we put the nails in His hands and feet. If we weren’t sinners, He wouldn’t have had to die in our place.
Would they like to be held accountable for any acts their ancestors committed?
Would they prefer that Jesus hadn’t died for their sins? Speaking for myself, I would be in big trouble if Jesus hadn’t taken my punishment and bridged the gap between God the Father and me.
Jesus forgave his killers, saying as He was dying, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Most importantly, Jesus let himself be killed. John 10:17-18 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life, only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. “
If you can think of anything to add to the list, leave a comment.
P.S. Things we can learn from Mel:
1) Alcohol can cause serious problems.
2) One stupid act can undo a lot of good work.
3) Think first, then speak (or type).
17 thoughts on “Anti-Semitism and “Who killed Jesus?””
This is why I leave the serious education of blog readers to you. I posted one about Mel today that is not so edifying. Entertaining and crass, maybe but not educational. It amazes me that your bullet pointed list is not “Christian Common Knowledge”. Gret post!
People forget that Jesus wasn’t killed. He GAVE HIS LIFE. No one could have killed Him, He was God.
Stepping down from His throne and the glory He had know, Jesus came to GIVE HIS LIFE for you and me.
Isn’t it a bit odd to blame anybody for something that is considered a necessary condition in the cause of history?
Just imagine Jesus had not been nailed to the cross? Where would Christianity stand today?
There would not be any redemption, no sins forgiven, no resurrection and ascension everybody would be hell-bound.
Really, it is the other way round. One would have to blame the Jews if they had NOT killed Jesus, thus preventing the Christians from getting saved!
Had they known what they were doing, they would exactly have done that, being Jews and not Christians, wouldn’t they?
One could imagine all sorts of possibilities if the Jews had recognized Jesus as the Messiah. It would probably make for an interesting book. I’m not sure how that would have played out. But that doesn’t change what happened.
It wasn’t a necessary condition from a justice standpoint. It was from a love standpoint – John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
P.S. Thanks for resurrecting an old post (no pun intended). I had almost forgotten this one.
“P.S. Thanks for resurrecting an old post (no pun intended). I had almost forgotten this one.”
I once taught a Sunday School class that included a Messianic Jew. During one class, I said something about the Jews killing Jesus. He pulled me aside later and explained how that made him feel. I apologized and never used that terminology again. He invited me to his fellowship – a large group of Messianic Jews. What an experience. When the pastor read the Psalms comment about David dancing, I knew it was going to upset my Baptist upbringing. But I have never seen a group so committed to the Lord.
No, I didn’t dance. I decided there’s a reason I’m Baptist. But I learned a lot. I worked with them for over a year, running sound and such.
Another fine work. This was one of my first realizations when I became a believer, that both Jews and Gentiles were responsible for putting Jesus to death. Yes, He submitted to their unjust act, but they are still responsible for what they did.
Be careful when you say that we should celebrate the Jews for putting Him to death. They are still responsible for their heinous act. Yes, it was heinous, even though it was necessary for our salvation. God took the wicked hearts of men, allow men to act on their own accord, and used it for HIS glory and OUR redemption. Even though He brought good out of this evil act, those who put Him to death were still punished accordingly (provided they didn’t repent and believe).
BTW, using the Jews blame game is the same as using the white-blame game of slavery today. We don’t like to fall under the condemnation of those whose ancestors were held slaves in this country, any more than the Jew likes to be held responsible for the death of Christ. At some point, all involved need to get over it and be responsible for what we are responsible for… which isn’t all that good either. Alas, there is Jesus!
Jesus ied for OUR sins, therefore we all had a part, no?
Mel Gibson behaved very badly as we all do sometimes, but he being a public figure and after his work on THE PASSION, indeed undid a lot of good.
thanks. That is something that needs to be said from time to time as antisemitism crept into protestantism beginning with Luther and still remains a powerful holdover from our Catholic heritage.
thanks Neil for taking a stand!:)
What happened to the comment from the angry rabbi?
I deleted it. I don’t mind some zings or friendly banter or to just let a hothead look foolish, but I checked out the guy’s blog and he was more than unhinged. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time with that nonsense.
Yeah, the “Should Christians Kill Their Children” [short answer from him, yes] post was a bit excessive. It sounds like he has some serious issues. Sadly, I worry that many of his issues are no doubt related to Christians who misrepresented the Gospel in a way that vilified Jewish men.
When “The Passion of the Christ” came out, and there was that uproar, I wondered why. It’s pretty plain that it was the hypocritical Jewish leaders, who were also giving their own a hard time. That certainly doesn’t mean “it was the JOOOZ!” Only that it was a certain faction. As Neil’s post plainly states, Jesus and His disciples were Jews as well. It’s really a lame complaint. If anyone wants to complain about Christian anti-semitism, they should look to the UCC and other such churches who equate Israel with Hamas and call for divestment from Israel.
Try this Gospel some time.
I’ve always thought that Passion of the Christ was very anti-satanic. I wouldn’t be surprised if satan worshipers were very offended at the movie.