Reading: Matthew 27:11-26
Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” – vv.22-23
And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” – v.25
One thing I am thankful for of having been spared from during my growing up years is the concept of antisemitism (I didn’t even know such a word exists!). We read the Bible and we have always thought of Jews as a very special people, near to God’s heart (the iris of His eye—we dare not poke God’s eye!). They were chosen, the Lord wants to bless them, has blessed them, and continues to do so, and He has wonderful plans for them in the future. It is because of them that we Gentiles first heard the gospel, and have also come into this special place of blessedness by being alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5) and being grafted into the cultivated olive tree (Romans 11:17-24), the commonwealth of Israel, now able to share the same hope (Ephesians 2:12).
Despite having an awareness of recent history, it was only when I came to the West that I realised such discrimination actually exists (I was more wary of stereotyping against my own race). Why? Doesn’t it frighten people? When I first started really reading my Bible in earnest and laid my eyes on Genesis 12.2-3, it impressed so much on my heart to bless God’s people—to pray for them, and when possible, to bless them through practical means as well. It was only later that I came to understand the “dividing wall of hostility” (felt by both parties), and of which peace will only be found in Christ, and through Whom we will be made one (Ephesians 2.11-22).
Last year I read Dr DH Stern’s “Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel”. I will not be discussing the book here in my post, but would mention his exegesis on Romans 11.30-32. The key word is mercy—the same one we received from God and for us to give to the Jewish people—this was such a eureka moment even to the Apostle Paul that he broke into song in v.33!
Also, if anyone believes that the reason majority of the Jews continue to be in the diaspora or still have not re-claimed the actual Biblical delineation of their land is because of the curse they called upon their heads (Matthew 27.25)—that is no longer the case. The destruction of Jerusalem was only for that generation (Luke 19.41-44). Again, I will not discuss it here, but will refer you to a book that did (“Restoring the Roots to the Branches” by Dr A Poyner-Levison). It was also briefly discussed in a sermon—I’m providing the same author’s list of sermons here, all in mp3 and free (when I come across again that particular sermon I will update).
Lastly, in my younger years, when there was no internet, we had no phone and our TV was still in black & white, one of my favourite pastimes was reading Reader’s Digest Condensed Books (mostly donations from the American military base to our community library). I wouldn’t be able to recall the title of the novel, nor the full story, but it was about a very realistic painting of the Crucifixion that was on exhibit in a gallery. Each person who stood in front of the work was almost transported to the scene of the crime, and, once there, with the crowd, found him/herself angry, insulting and condemning Christ to His death.
My friend, we have read enough passages in the Bible to learn and accept that Christ bore the sins of the world (1 John 2.2)—those committed by them, by you, and by me. But praise be to God, Jesus rose back to life, and with Him we are able to walk in newness of life (Romans 6.4)!
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” – Acts 2.37-40 (ESVUK)