February 9, 2004
"Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him
to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt
offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his
days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his
hand" (Isaiah 53:10).
Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing a
particular concern regarding Mel Gibson's upcoming
film, "The Passion." Some people feel that the
depiction of the Jewish people in the movie will
result in increased anti-Semitism. My heart has been
heavy as I have been reading a variety of articles
addressing this issue. I find that on one hand there
is, on the part of some Jewish people, a lack of
understanding regarding the Gospel story, and on the
part of Christians a lack of sensitivity to the
centuries old abuse of the Jewish people in the name
of Jesus and the Church.
The Jewish people's understanding of the New Testament
arises out of almost two thousand years of the
Church's ongoing refusal to recognize the place of
Israel in the plans and purposes of God. The result of
this is a repulsion to anything from the New
Testament. Since Christianity claims that this
document is its authority, some conclude that it must
be a book that promotes hatred toward the Jewish
While many Christians have renounced the ancient anti-
Semitic teachings of the Church, there is a tendency
among Christians to think that the words of the New
Testament can stand apart from years of
misapplication. There is also a hesitancy to accept
that, even among well-meaning people, there still is
anti-Jewish sentiment in the church, both conscious
Somehow we need to understand what was really going on
in those last twelve hours of Yeshua's life,
regardless of Mel Gibson's or anyone else's version.
Last week, we looked at how since Yeshua died for the
sins of the world, we are all to blame for his death.
But that is not the whole truth. The Old and New
Testaments are clear that the mission of the Messiah
was a mission of sacrifice. Because of our need of
reconciliation with our God, he himself determined to
meet that need by sending his own Son as a perfect and
effective sacrifice for sin.
God used our intolerance of godliness as the
instrument of sacrifice. Our rejection of the Messiah
is in keeping with human nature, but God knew what he
was getting into when he sent Yeshua.
Yeshua fully cooperated with God's plan. He himself
"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my
life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from
me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have
authority to lay it down and authority to take it up
again. This command I received from my Father" (John
The giving up of Yeshua’s life was initiated by God,
because he loves us. It was his death that opened the
way for us to receive eternal life.
Therefore we have no right to blame anyone or any one
people group for Yeshua’s death. Once we realize that
it is for each one of us that he gave himself, then
each one of us may find ourselves able to accept our
responsibility for his rejection.