I recently read an article which said that anti-Semitism has risen world-wide. This persecution of Jews is reported to not be solely from Muslims, but from nominal Christians as well. Some of these go so far as to hatefully chastise them as “Christ-killers.” Such, of course, are not imitating Christ, who prayed for those involved in His crucifixion, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
There were, of course, certain Jewish leaders who conspired for His death, and other Jews who agreed to it, but they alone were not responsible. Without Pilate’s and Rome ’s approval, it could not have been done. On Pentecost Sunday following the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter addressed some of these, declaring, “Him…you have taken (and) by lawless hands have crucified and put to death” (Acts 2:23, NKJ). Though done in ignorance, they were not guiltless; but theirs was not the only guilt. It was done through “lawless hands”—through those who were “without law” (1 Cor. 9:21), Gentiles. To be more specific, the deed was done through Roman officials and soldiers. Should we therefore blame the Romans (Italians)? It was soldiers from Rome who mocked Jesus, scourged Him, drove the nails into His hands and feet, and completed their task by thrusting a spear into His side to assure His death.
The fact of the matter is that the responsibility for His death is shared by ALL. Isaiah had prophesied 700 years before this event, saying, “…the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6b). The sins of humanity put Jesus on the tree, and that includes my sins and your sins. We crucified Jesus! To satisfy divine justice, and yet to show grace and mercy to us sinners, the crucifixion was no mere senseless martyrdom, but was accomplished by “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God…” (Acts 2:23a).
Those who would seek to put the blame for Jesus death upon the Jews should also recognize that Jesus also was a Jew. It was He who declared, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22b). The apostles were Jews. The first Christians were Jews. The New Testament Scriptures were written by converted Jews. Paul, though he suffered many things at the hands of Jews, still maintained them to be “beloved for the sake of the fathers” (Romans 11:28b)—the “fathers” referring to the covenant God had years before made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
As we would ponder the death of our Lord and Savior, it must not be that we pass the blame on to others. We should, instead, say, as did Paul, that He “loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). We all had our part. Were it not for our sins, Christ would not have died.