Tatcho Drom
Journeying Journals of a Jolly Journeyman

Jews – the Christ Killers?

Have you ever heard Jewish people being accused for the death of Jesus Christ? Sadly, the annals of history reveal how the Roman Catholic leadership branded Jewish people with the ethnoreligious slur of “Christ killers”. The stigma of “Christ killer” has had disastrous affects upon innocents. A myriad of Jewish people who had no relation with Jesus Christ have been massacred by the direct authority of the Roman Catholic church. The fact that the massacred were Jewish innocents is not as relevant as the fact that these innocents were indeed human beings. But the public often readily forgets the humanity of a targeted group when they are demonised by the supposed guardians of Christianity.

I will refrain from stressing the crimes against humanity that the Roman Catholic system has committed. Why? Because we are living in a day and age where the sanctimonious mask that the Roman Catholic system once wore has been torn asunder. I also understand that there have been occulted forces who have swayed authorities in all levels of society (not just the Roman Catholics) towards malignant purposes. Indeed, I look beyond the darkness and see that there have been attempts made by individuals for the greater good. One of these being the late John Paul II who has made many attempts to reconcile the Church’s past errors. Such an attempt was made in 1965 clearing the Jewish people from the responsibility of killing Jesus Christ issued in the Nostra Aetate declaration:

Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. John 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion. It is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture. Consequently, all must take care, lest in catechizing or in preaching the Word of God, they teach anything which is not in accord with the truth of the Gospel message or the spirit of Christ.

Indeed the Church reproves every form of persecution against whomsoever it may be directed. Remembering, then, her common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, she deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews.

In the above quote, John Paul II implies the verity of the “Christ killer” myth stigmatised on Jews. Fair enough, afterall, Jewish people have long felt the lasting effects of the scourge of the stigma! But I see something more than admission in the quote. I see an apology, a confession of past errors, from a Pope from a line of Popes who are supposedly infallible. A Pope admitting a wrong takes courage and the desire to do right. Formality aside, good on ya, John Paul II, and RIP – you left a distinctly ethical legacy that I hope future Popes continue to adhere to.

Though I refrain from stressing the past mistakes of Roman Catholicism, and though I recognise the Papal apology, still I feel the responsibility of advocating for my Jewish ancestors who have unjustly suffered 2000 years of persecution, mainly due to the “Christ killers” myth. In my advocacy I will use the Holy Bible, once used as an authoritative source in the “Christ killers” myth, to reveal gems of truth about who truly killed Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Before I delve into a Bible study, I ask the reader, “Who do you believe took Jesus Christ’s life? Who was responsible for the expiry of the Son of God?” Was it the Roman’s and their excruciating form of capital punishment in the form of crucifixion? Was it the Jews who falsely accused him? Was it the sins of humanity?

You may be surprised to hear that none of the above took Jesus’ life. The death of Jesus Christ was different from every other death. His birth was different from all other births. His life was different from all other lives.

The unique aspect of Christ’s death is suggested in his pronunciation, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father” (John 10:17, 18).

In other words, one can safely propose that Jesus took his own life.

Jesus Christ was not powerless in the hands of those involved in his crucifixion. Furthermore, Jesus Christ didn’t succumb to the trauma of his trial or crucifixion and died thus. There are certain key texts that reveal that Jesus Christ was in full control of himself and the situation when he finally “gave up his spirit” and died.

When Jesus Christ said in regards to his life, “No one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative” (John 10:18), he revealed the truth of these words through these actions:

That Jesus Christ was not powerless in the hands of the enemy comes out clearly at the moment of his arrest. A band of officers, Pharisees and the traitor Judas sought Jesus Christ in Gethsemane to take Jesus to trial.

So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He” (John 18:4, 5).

When a Bible adds words in italics, it usually refers to words that have been added by the translator to try and make sense of the text. When Jesus Christ replied, he would have said, “I am.”

No wonder that in the next verse, “they drew back and fell to the ground.” (verse 6).

When Jesus Christ uttered the words “I am” he uttered the ineffable title to Deity, that by which Jehovah had revealed himself of old to Moses at the burning bush – “I am.”

Jesus Christ knew what was coming upon him. He revealed that he was in control of the situation by revealing that if he so much wanted, he could have walked away from the mob as he had previously done when his life was at stake (see Luke 4:28-30). Instead, Jesus Christ stood his ground, revealing he was the prophesied Lamb of God, Emmanuel (God with us), who was to be sacrificed.

Finally, Jesus Christ wasn’t forced to partake of the trial that he clearly knew would mean his death. He delivers himself and was “led” as a lamb to the slaughter.

Next we turn to Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The words that need to be observed closely have been placed in bold. Why would Matthew add the words, “cried out with a loud voice”? What would this indicate? To understand the context of these recorded words better, we need to look a little further down where it says, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit” (verse 50).

Don’t these words corroborate with what I have been trying to say? That Jesus Christ was in control of himself to the point of his death? That he was not exhausted at the point of death? It was not a feeble agonised cry, but one in a “loud voice”. Jesus Christ’s strength had not failed him, but instead of conquering death, he yielded up to it.

There is another utterance by Jesus that we should take note on. That is when he said, “I thirst” (John 19:28). The significance of this utterance is best seen when taken into context on why he said, “I thirst”. Verse 28 explains, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I thirst'”.

Many centuries before Christ’s death it was predicted that “in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21). At the point before Christ said, “I thirst”, all prophecies regarding the events before and during his death had been fulfilled. The only one remaining was the drinking of vinegar. When Christ uttered those words, he was clearly showing that he was in full possession of his mental faculties. Despite everything he had gone through, he was thinking clearly, and even remembered that he had one more prophecy to fulfill before his death.

Again we see evidence that he was in full control and “laid down his life of himself.”

Let’s continue studying certain verses to see the full extent of what Christ meant when he said that he would lay down his own life. “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished!’ And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).

What can we learn from the words in bold? What does “he bowed his head” signify? Previous to this, Jesus’ head would have been held upright. We find here, that after all the trials and suffering Jesus had gone through, perfect composure. His head wasn’t lolling or swooning under the a haze of weakness. If that was the case, then there would be no way that he could have been able to “bow his head”. And notice the adjective used for Christ’s action. His head didn’t drop, or fall onto his chest. It “bowed”. A controlled, calm and conscious movement, before he “gave up his spirit.”

Finally, Jesus’ last act on the cross clearly reveals that no one took Christ’s life, but that he took it himself. “And Jesus, crying out in a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46). These words of Jesus accurately agree with his statement, “I lay down my life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative” (John 10:17, 18).

Blame does not need to rest upon the Romans, Jews, or even the soldiers who performed the act of crucifixion on Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Bible points to the evidence that Jesus Christ was solely responsible for his own death. If only we could remember that Jesus Christ was in full control to fulfill a mission revealing the love of God. If only we could stop casting blame and embrace the spirit of Christ, and that is, to love one another as Christ loved us.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,
even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

~ Jesus Christ (John 13:34)

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people,
but shall love your neighbour as yourself; I am the LORD.
(Leviticus 19:18)

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement,
“You shall love your neighbour as yourself”
(Galatians 5:14)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
(1 John 4:7)

PS. Credit is due to Arthur Pink’s book, “The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross” for the Bible study.

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