The Absurdity of Killing Jews for Jesus
|Marc Chagall's "White Crucifixion" (1938) |
depicts both our Lord's death and the
suffering of the Jews through the ages since.
How can anyone who has ever read the Bible—and claims to believe it—be anti-Semitic, like the wicked young man involved in the synagogue shooting last week in Poway, California?
How much we Gentile believers in Israel’s Messiah owe to the Jews! How can we not love them and be grateful for them? Except for the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, the entire Bible has come to us through Jewish hands. Our Lord Jesus, who said, “Salvation is from the Jews” (Jn. 4:22), was himself (of course!) a Jew. All the apostles were Jews. Most of the early believers were Jews. Our Lord’s brother, Jacob (James), said there were many myriads of Jewish Christians in his day (Acts 21:20). In the later chapters of his letter to the Romans, Paul tells Gentile Christians to bend over backwards in consideration for the Jews, and so live as to make the gospel appealing to them. Is it necessary to say that doesn’t include murdering them?
Paul’s pathos in Romans is palpable:
“I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” — Romans 9:1-5
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” — Romans 10:1
“As regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” —Romans 11:28-29
Among other things, the shooter blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus. The truth is, all the world is implicated in his death—Jews and Gentiles both. And all the world benefits from its saving effects. As Peter said when he lifted up his voice in prayer, “truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27-28).
Don’t miss the significance of that last statement. God himself ordained the death of Jesus. “It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief… the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:10, 6b). Jesus willingly undertook this task, looking past his suffering to the joy that was set before him (Heb. 12:2).
Although his death, humanly speaking, came about as a cooperative effort by Jews and Gentiles, Jesus made it clear that it could never have happened unless he had been willing to lay down his life for his sheep. “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (Jn. 10:17). When Peter attempted to defend him in Gethsemane, Jesus told him to put his sword away; and then added, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matt. 26:53-54)
Jesus willingly endured the death and degradation of the cross because he, like the Father who sent him, so loved the world, including the Jews—especially the Jews—that he wished to save it. Those who would commit murder in his name prove they know neither him nor his Father.