Skip to comments.Who Killed Jesus?: Setting the Record Straight
Posted on 02/13/2004 11:51:10 AM PST by Mr. Silverback
The cover of the latest NEWSWEEK magazine asks the right question: "Who killed Jesus?" This has been a raging debate for a year, since Mel Gibson started his remarkable film project THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. He immediately ran into a buzz saw of opposition from the liberal media and Jewish groups who were afraid the film would rekindle anti-Semitism.
Now, Jews have a legitimate concern about this. During the Middle Ages, Christians treated Jews terribly. In Russia there were pogroms against the Jews. And of course some of the maniacs around Hitler professed that they were killing Jews to purify the Christian race.
But is this sensitivity today well-founded? If we would look at history alone, we would have to say that Pontius Pilate certainly was guilty. Legend has it that years after the crucifixion he was frantically washing his hands trying to cleanse himself from the blood of Christ. And, of course, Caiphus the High Priest certainly bears his share of responsibility. So do the crowds who yelled, "Crucify him." So was it the Romans or the Jews, the venality of Pontius Pilate or the passion of the mob?
It was both and neither. The Jews didn't cause the death of Jesus, nor did the Romans. They were merely instruments carrying out what God had decreed. He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross so that the sins of mankind might be forgiven. And those who take Scripture seriously have always known who killed Jesus: You and I and all other sinful human beings did so.
Mel Gibson understands this. In his movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, the hand holding the spike being nailed through Christ's wrist is Gibson's. Who killed Jesus? Mel Gibson knows. And he made the very point with his own hand that he was responsible, not the Jews.
Similarly the Dutch painter, Rembrandt painted THE RAISING OF THE CROSS as a self-portrait. As Christ hangs on the cross while it is being lifted into place, the soldier pulling it up is Rembrandt. Who killed Jesus? Rembrandt knew. He did. And I did. And you did. We're the ones who sent Jesus to the cross loaded down with our sins.
So enough of this foolish controversy. My advice to Christians is that you make it abundantly clear to your friends and neighbors that we are the ones responsible and then take them to see the film. Let them experience the passion and explain to them why it was necessary for Jesus to go to the cross. And be ready with a biblical answer for your Jewish friends who hear all of this propaganda, most of it stirred up by professional activists.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says that it is not who is to blame that really has everybody up in arms. The media elite know that if people see this film, the right answer to the haunting question "Who Killed Jesus?" will be clear. What strikes terror into the hearts of the media elite is that people might once again be convicted of sin, repent, and come to faith in Christ.
So, three cheers for Mel Gibson. And thanks to NEWSWEEK for asking the right question, even if it does not have the right answer. But now it is up to us Christians to do our job to educate our neighbors and flood the movie theaters.
Yeah, right! I guess ol' Chuck has a lot more faith in "the media elite" than I ever will.
One could say the roman with the spear killed him.
Or they could say any number of other people (ie a conspiracy).
At any rate, he came here with the intent of the outcome, so perhaps the question is not who killed Jesus, but who helped him fulfill his mission?
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Assuming the Bible relates facts, there is a group of N historical people, of which one could plausibly say: "those N people had a hand in killing Jesus." I don't know how many N is. Maybe N is just 2 (Pilate and Caiaphas), probably more since we'd throw in the actual executioners who hammered the nails etc, other members of the Sanhedrin who voted, etc.
So some of those people were certainly Romans, some were certain Jews, some were probably Syrians working for Romans, some (like the members of the infamous crowd) may have been Hellenized Jews, Samaritans, some kind of Asians, etc etc etc. I don't know (or care) what the percentages are. But even if 99% of them were "Jews" (or the closest historical analogue anyway), that STILL wouldn't add up to the statement "The Jews killed Jesus".
Why is it so hard to distinguish the acts of INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE from the acts of their group?
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