(a short but important message)
by Joel Havian
Mel Gibson, a producer in the motion picture industry, has released a movie portraying what happened to Jesus around the time that He was crucified. This movie is called The Passion of the Christ. It has gotten a lot of attention in the media around the time of its release. A major reason why is due to many leaders in the Jewish community being concerned about this film somehow singling out the Jews as being responsible for Jesus' death--and, as a result, enticing at least some viewers to carry out acts of anti-Semitism.
I myself have seen The Passion of the Christ. As a result, I feel that this movie tends to accurately follow the New Testament. That is how it should be.
Unfortunately, many people throughout the centuries who claimed to be "Christians" did not act like true Christians when they misinterpreted the New Testament to mean that Jews were the ones who were primarily (and perhaps solely) responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. Many such so-called "Christians" have used this as an excuse to hate and persecute the Jewish people. This is a terrible example of reading the Bible incorrectly. And it has caused many Jews to permanently refuse giving the Gospel a fair chance to lead them to eternal salvation.
The apostle Peter, in one of his epistles, discussed how some people have improperly handled the apostle Paul's letters--as well as other Scriptures:
"He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16, NIV)
The New Testament, when understood properly, is known to be a book that is for the Jews, not against the Jews. Although it was written almost solely by Jews (according to several credible resources), this same book is, of course, for the Gentiles as well.
But one of the problematic questions is: Who killed Jesus? A limited amount of Jews, although they did not represent all Jews, sought to put Jesus to death. A limited number of Romans, although they did not represent all Romans, carried out His execution.
I want to particularly point out the fact that this limited amount of Jews who sought Jesus' death did not represent all Jews in the narrowed (Jews only) sense, even despite whatever leadership status (e.g., priests, scribes) they may have had. Just because this limited amount of people said, "His blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25), this still does not necessarily imply that every Jew accepts this supposedly isolated liability.
To infer that this narrowed liability applies to every Jewish person is like making a customer liable for a fraudulent credit card charge that he/she never authorized. It's like delivering goods to a consumer that he/she never ordered. It's like getting your food served with condiments or toppings that someone else (with a "one size fits all" attitude) has ordered for you, to your disliking, instead of selecting the ingredients yourself. And it's somewhat like blaming somebody for a car accident when that person had nothing whatsoever to do with it. I could go on, but I hope you get the idea. "His blood be on us and on our children!" should be received as narrowed down in this isolation case to "His blood be on us", i.e., only on those who spoke these words. The "and on our children" clause should be rendered null and void, due to at least some of those "children" not consenting to this isolated type of liability. This is not what they ordered, authorized, signed up for, etc. (please keep in mind that I am discussing narrowed, i.e., among Jewish children only, liability here).
On the other hand, the way I and many other genuinely-behaving Christians see it, either everybody of the entire human race, because all of us have sinned (see Romans 3:10), have killed Him, or perhaps God alone did this (see the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and also John 10:17-18). Either way, all of us humans are equally guilty (it does not matter whether we are Jewish or Gentile), because all of us have sinned against God. I am referring to global (or general), as opposed to narrowed, liability here.
But God sent His Son to die in our place so that we could be forgiven of our sins!
My prayer is for all people, including Jews, to come to saving faith in Jesus the Messiah. I am hoping that many Jewish people will not be turned away due to incorrectly viewing the New Testament--or Mel Gibson's movie--as anti-Jewish.
I praise God that a growing number of Jews (including myself) have put their faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ). Remember that Christianity is a faith of love, not of hatred (particularly anti-Semitism). May those of you who are reading this grow greatly in the love of Jesus, our loving Savior who died for our sins and came back to life afterward.
Summing things up, let us view Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ as Jesus' loving efforts to save all mankind--both Jewish and Gentile--from its sins (so that by believing in Him, we can spend eternity in Heaven, as opposed to hell--see John 3:16), with the realization that every member of the entire human race (as opposed to only the Jewish people) is equally responsible for His crucifixion (because all of us have sinned).
For more information about God's Good News, please click here (a special English-Hebrew edition, written especially for my fellow Jewish people, is also available here).
Additional recommended reading