Did the Jews Kill Jesus?

December 30, 2011 at 7:50 AM 3 comments

A Latin-America TV network affiliate of FOX has apologized for running a poll on whether people thought Jews killed Jesus. [1]  “Fox Latin America ran a poll on its Facebook page asking people to choose between Pontius Pilate, the High Priests and the Jewish People. The poll was placed to promote a National Geographic Christmas special.” [2]

Historically speaking, the Jews did not physically kill Jesus.  The religious leaders of Israel at that time wanted Jesus killed, but their laws prevented them from carrying out their death wishes, so they brought him before Pilate.

Technically, Pilate was the one who ordered and was responsible for having Jesus scourged and then killed.  Pilate was a Gentile.  The ones who actually carried out the death sentence were Roman soldiers, also Gentile, since no Jewish person would have been part of the very empire that was keeping them downtrodden.

This is an ironic situation because according to Scripture, Jesus came to die.  He died in our place so that we don’t have to suffer God’s wrath, which was poured out on his Son while He hung dying a painful death on Calvary’s cross.

People who focus in on who killed Jesus are missing the point of His death entirely.  Those who put Jesus to death are held responsible by God, just as Judas Iscariot is held responsible for betraying Jesus, which began the entire process of handing Jesus over to the illegal trials He suffered through prior to being sent to Pilate.

Years ago, the Vatican – among others – taught that Jews killed Jesus.  This led to tremendous persecution of Jewish people throughout the world.

The suggestion that Jews were responsible for the “deicide” –the killing of Jesus – has been something that damaged Jewish-Christian relations for centuries. But even the Vatican disowned the idea more than four decades ago.” [3]

When people focus on who killed Jesus, the meaning of the entire event is lost.  In essence, because of our sin, all of us placed Jesus on the cross, whether Jew or Gentile.  I am just as responsible for Jesus’ death as you are, whether you think so or not.

Jesus came to die.  He did so because He wanted to free humanity from the sin that enslaves us.  While many hear that message and embrace it, too many either don’t hear it, or they hear it and reject it.

Jesus came to set us free from the constraints of sin leading to eternal death.  Romans 10:9-10 states it succinctly:  “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

The question is not who killed Jesus?  The real question is why did He choose to die in the first place?

[1] http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/61209/fox-latin-america-asks-whether-jews-killed-jesus

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

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3 Comments

  • 1. Simon  |  January 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I agree it is a very important question because the ‘Christ-killer’ jibe has of course been the excuse for anti-semitism for thousands of years. To blame the Jewish people for Jesus’ death is like blaming the Iraqi people for Sadam Hussein or like blaming all Koreans (including South Koreans) for the attrocities of Kim-il Sung. Jesus was crucified as King of the Jews – you can’t get much more Jewish than that!

    Isn’t the truth of the matter that once Constantine converted to Christianity, there was a strong push to shift the blame away from Rome? This was because: i) as you rightly say, it was technically the Roman authorities who killed Jesus; ii) Judaism was Christianity’s other big monotheistic competitor; and iii) with the destruction of the temple, there were really no Messianic Jews left, and the Gentile Christians were keen to try and forget the Jewish roots of their religion.

    Finally, yes the Vatican does probably have a lot of Jewish blood on its hands. However, to be far, Luther and many other Protestants were strong anti-semites as well.

    Very good blog.

    • 2. modres  |  January 2, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Yes, it is difficult to believe how anti-Semitic Luther and others became toward the end of their lives. In fact – and I’m sure you know this – Hitler read one of Luther’s books which became the basis for Mein Kampf.

  • 3. Gary Hughes  |  December 31, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    “Who killed Jesus?” is a question answered by Jesus himself.

    John 10:17-18
    (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
    (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

    It’s a very important question, and getting the right answer is critical.


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