"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Question:

Dear Rabbi,

What can you answer to a “Christian” who claims that the Jews killed Jesus?  I was too angry to think clearly of a good answer for that.

Thank you.

P.S. . . . It’s hard to be a Jew in Hawaii sometimes!

Answer:

You shouldn’t get so angry at that Christian who insisted that the Jews killed Jesus.  Your outrage is being directed at the wrong source.  Your accuser was simply taking his New Testament a little too seriously.  The Christian scriptures are quite clear about the subject of who is responsible for Jesus’ death.  In I Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paul writes, . . . even as they have of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost!

Moreover, not only are the Jews completely vilified in the New Testament for Jesus’ execution, but the Romans are completely exonerated.  This vilification is not only directed toward those Jews who supposedly plotted and caused Jesus’ death.  Rather, the Christian Bible makes it clear that this blame is extended to all future generations of Jews throughout all time.

In Matthew 27:22-25, Pontius Pilate is made out to appear as if he wants nothing to do with Jesus’ crucifixion, and he symbolically washes his hands of the affair.  In fact, the Gospels consistently portray Pilate as the one fighting with the Jews for Jesus’ release.  The Jews, on the other hand, continue to scream and call for Jesus’ crucifixion until Pontius Pilate finally relents to their incessant demands and reluctantly hands Jesus over to be crucified.  Before Jesus is crucified, however, one of the most devastating and catastrophic statements was placed in the mouths of the Jewish people by the author of the first Gospel.  In response to Pilate’s desperate pleas for Jesus’ life, the Jews assure him that, “We take his blood upon ourselves and our children!”   Read Matthew 27:22-25 (below).  These verses will provide some insight as to how the mind and soul of your acquaintance were poisoned by the words of the New Testament.  Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”  They all [the Jews] said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”  Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”  But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”  When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.  You see to it.”  All the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Moreover, in the fourth Gospel, which is considered by many to be the most anti-Semitic of all, John has Jesus completely exonerating the Romans for the crucifixion while placing the complete blame for Jesus’ death on the head of the Jews.  In a conversation between Jesus and Pilate, Jesus assures the Roman procurator of Judea that he has no power of his own, and therefore “the one who delivered me to you [the Jews] bear the greatest iniquity” (John 19:11).  In fact, nowhere in the New Testament are the Romans ever condemned for the crucifixion of Jesus.  Unfortunately, this cannot be said about the Jews.  It is therefore not difficult to understand how Pontius Pilate could be venerated as a saint by many churches throughout North Africa.  This is made clear in Acts 2:36 where the Jews alone are held accountable for the death of Jesus.  Notice how the Roman culpability is never mentioned anywhere in this verse.

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

If you stop and think about it, the whole accusation of the Jews killing Jesus is rather preposterous.  On the one hand, the New Testament insists that it was the most wonderful thing for mankind to have an atonement through Jesus’ death.  On the other hand, the Jews are vilified by the same New Testament for killing him.  If you take New Testament theology to its full logical conclusion, the Jews should have been praised in the New Testament for making this atonement possible, not condemned.  Does all this make any sense?  You [Jews] just can’t win.

With regard to your request for advice on how to answer the Christian who accuses the Jews of killing Jesus, remember that you are dealing with someone who is operating out of a venomous hate for God’s chosen people.  He is probably not interested in understanding how preposterous this claim is.  Instead, remind him that his Bible says that the Almighty will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those curse Israel (Genesis 12:3).  What possible spiritual benefit can he ever hope to have under the condemnation of God?

It is important to bear in mind that although, as a result of this despicable charge of deicide, countless Christians have committed unspeakable atrocities against the Jewish people, many decent Christians condemn it.  The reason for their condemnation, however, is often varied.  While many of these Christians who denounce anti-Semitism operate out a genuine affection for the Jewish people, for others, however, their motives are not as pure.  Unfortunately, many Christians who loudly declare their love for the Jewish people and condemn this charge of deicide have an ulterior motive: They do not want to be perceived by their potential Jewish converts to Christianity as being anti-Semitic or associated with Christendom and its long history of hate.

Sincerely yours,

 

Rabbi Tovia Singer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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