WHO KILLED JESUS? A question for Good Friday…

April 10, 2020

Let us be done once for all with the miserable canard that the Jews are guilty of the death of Jesus.

As if the rest of us Gentiles were not guilty.

Christ died for sinners, therefore all sinners are guilty of His death. When John wrote his Gospel, he very often called the cabal which controlled the Temple enclave in Jerusalem “the Jews.” It was by no means a racial or ethnic designation. John was himself a Jew. And let us always remember that when God the Second Person elected to become incarnate as a true human being, the human being He chose to become was a Jewish male. From John’s pen the term “the Jews” means simply the First Century leaders of Judaism. In terms of human responsibility Jesus’ death was precipitated by a conspiracy of priests. We could with more justification insist “the Pastors killed Jesus.”

Part of the reason I point that out is because I AM a pastor.

The most powerful room (if I can attach such an adjective to such a noun) I ever entered is in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. In that wonderful museum there was a room which contained 14 Rembrandts. On one wall there were 12 successive paintings containing New Testament subjects. The painting which attracted me most is called “The Raising of the Cross.”

We probably know more about what Rembrandt looked like than any other man in the 17th century. The great artist had a passion for self-portraits, and we have likenesses from his early youth until just before his death. His hair was a dramatic red. In the foreground of the painting called “The Raising of the Cross” there is the prominent face of a man helping to hoist the Savior upright on the jagged wood. The man is wearing a green painter’s cap. Fringing out from under the cap is a riot of flaming red. The face is the familiar countenance of the great artist.

It was his way of saying, “I did it. It was because of my sins that He died.”

A religious evil is always worse than a political evil. And it is pride which turns religion into a wicked and murderous thing. The Roman ruler was content to beat Jesus and let Him go. It was the priests who insisted He must die.

The Jews, of course, are guilty as well, not because they are Jews, but because they are men.

But it was the Pastors who killed Jesus.

I did it.

It was because of my sins that He died.



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