February 2, 2004
We're All To Blame
"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our
sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4).
I had an unusually high amount of responses to last
week's Truah message, entitled "We're Like That" (see
http://www.truah.com/archive/). I had mentioned what I
thought was a reasonable concern regarding anti-Jewish
sentiment that may arise due to the upcoming release
of Mel Gibson's "The Passion."
I was surprised at how some people don't think this is
a reasonable concern. Even if the movie handles the
role of the Jewish leadership with the utmost
sensitivity and accuracy, we cannot and should not
think that hundreds of years of misrepresentation and
ill will can be erased in a moment (or by a three hour
movie), unless God himself intervenes. Maybe that is
exactly what we need.
Another thing that has been brought to my attention
more than once by people who have already seen "The
Passion" (there have been many preview showings of the
movie) is how it relates to who was actually
responsible for the death of Yeshua (Jesus).
One of the reasons why some people feel that concern
over possible negative Jewish reaction to the movie is
unfounded is that it apparently (I have not seen the
movie) so clearly shows how we all are responsible for
Yeshua's death, since it was the sin of all people
that sent him to the cross. Therefore, according to
these people, how can we claim that any particular
group be blamed for it?
Objectively speaking, this is the correct view. As
foretold by the Jewish prophets, including Isaiah as
quoted earlier, Yeshua died for our sins. The New
Testament clearly supports this. In fact the New
Testament teaches that Yeshua's death was God's remedy
for our need of being restored to himself. Yeshua
willingly gave his life, that we might be forgiven.
The ancient Christian vilification of the Jewish
people for the killing of Jesus is one of the most
hypocritical attitudes and gross misrepresentations of
truth of all time. Not only is each one of us the
cause of his death, we are also the chief
It must be, therefore, so grievous to God that anyone
would feel threatened by the retelling of this story.
It is one thing to have to face our own sinfulness
before God, but do we also have to face insensitivity
and ignorance on the part of those who should know
The release of this movie may be a great opportunity
for those who have been so blessed by the truth
therein to demonstrate its true meaning to those who
have been hurt by centuries of misinterpretation and