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 
beneficiaries.

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 
better?

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 
misapplication.