“The Jews” in the New Testament, part 2 of 4

Jewish, Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, messianic Judaism ..jpg

Crucifixion Was Roman and Not Jewish:
The Roman mode of capital punishment was crucifixion and the Jewish mode was stoning. How then can Christians claim that the Jews killed Jesus since Jesus died of crucifixion?

Crucifixion Was Roman and Not Jewish:
The Roman mode of capital punishment was crucifixion and the Jewish mode was stoning. How then can Christians claim that the Jews killed Jesus since Jesus died of crucifixion?
A Rabbi once told about growing up in a predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood where the Roman Catholic children would taunt the Jewish children with words to the likes of, “You Jews killed Jesus!” The Rabbi says that the Jewish children used to retort, “No you killed Jesus, you are, after all, Roman Catholic.” This is a great retort to employ against the malicious ignoramus.

At the time of Jesus, only Rome had the official authority to exercise capital punishment. In fact, once Rome took the power of capital punishment away from the Jewish authority—the Sanhedrin—the Rabbis took it as a sign that the Messiah was to come soon. Incidentally, orthodox-traditional-normative Judaism believes that the Messiah should have come at the time of Jesus, but for some reason did not appear; I evidence this fact in my essay When Was the Messiah Expected?

Sometimes Jesus was asked questions in order to trap Him in a catch 22; a false dichotomy.
The case of the woman caught in adultery was such a case. This is because if Jesus had said, “Yes, let’s go on and stone her to death,” then the Rabbinic authorities could have gone to the Romans and turned Him in for breaking Roman law.
On the other hand, if Jesus would have said, “No, we may not stone her,” then the Rabbinic authorities could have accused Him of breaking the law of Moses.
Clearly, either way He would lose by either breaking Roman or Jewish law—what to do?
What He did is to say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). He therefore, did not break either law and He made a point about considering our own sins and not only those of others.

Jewish, Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, messianic Judaism ..jpg

Please note carefully that I stated that only Rome had the official authority to exercise capital punishment. To think that since stoning was illegal it was never practiced is tantamount stating that since murder is illegal in the USA no one ever commits murder. In fact, there is a particularly interesting case of a stoning that is recorded in the New Testament. When Stephen was killed he was taken “outside of the city” where “they stoned him” (Acts 7:58). Apparently, they took him outside of the city in order to avoid detection by the Roman authorities.

Who is Responsible for Jesus’ Death?:
There are at least five aspects to this answer that I can think of and they are as follows:

1. The Primary responsibility it God the Father’s. This is because “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

2. No one would have killed Him if He had not wanted them to. This is a succinct way of getting at the point that Jesus came to show by word and example how we should live and to pay the price for our sins. He specifically stated that no one takes His life from Him because He gave it for us (John 10:18). Thus, Jesus is responsible for His own death as He willingly succumbed to it.

3. I am responsible for the death of Jesus since He died for me.

4. As stated above; it is imperative to understand that when the New Testament uses the term “the Jews” it is very clear contextually that it is referring to the Jewish religious authority. The reason that “the Jews” wanted Jesus to be killed is that they considered Him a heretic, a false teacher, false prophet and therefore, according to the law of “the Jews,” He should be put to death.

5. Romans allowed those whom they conquered to maintain their own culture / religion as long as it did not interfere with the Pax Romana—the Roman peace. At the time of Jesus there were people known as Zealots who were the insurgents of the time and rallied Jews to fight against Roman rule.
These were certainly persecuted by Rome because they would not allow a movement that opposed Roman rule. But the reason that Rome was not initially the least bit interested in Jesus is that they were not concerned about a Jewish teacher who was dealing with theological issues. This is why Pontius Pilate urged “the Jews” to give Jesus a trial under Jewish authority; since the charge was one of theological heresy.
Now, once Pilate found out that Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews Rome got involved because this would obviously conflict with the rule of the Caesars. On the cross upon which a person was crucified the Romans would post a tablet describing the person’s crime against Rome. The one over Jesus read Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews—this is what Rome would not tolerate.

messianic judaism, jewish, messiah.jpg

What if I said that I was going to go to a certain country to help the oppressed? Someone might tell me that I should not go because a lot of people who had done what I want to do have been murdered by the oppressors.
If I go and I am murdered: who caused my death? Ultimately, I did because I chose to go knowing the risks. But could we really say that the oppressors were not at all responsible? No, because they had a role in my death as well.
Therefore, could it be said that “the Jews” killed Jesus? Yes, the Rabbinic authority of that time wanted Him executed as a heretic.
Could it be said that the Romans killed Jesus? Yes, because they would not tolerate any challenge to the rule of the Caesars.
Could it be said that I caused Jesus’ death? Yes, because He did it for me.
Could it be said that God the Father was responsible for Jesus’ death? Yes, because He gave Jesus to the world.
Could it be said that Jesus was responsible for His own death? Yes, because that was part of His purpose.
Jesus said of Himself,

“For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve-and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

John tells us that when Jesus said,

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again…But the ‘temple’ he had spoken of was his body” (John 2:19-21).

And,

“This is why my Father loves me, because I lay down my life-in order to take it up again! No one takes it away from me; on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This is what my Father commanded me to do” (John 10:17-18).

The Jewish people are not Christ killers rather, they are Christ givers. Jesus said that “salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A plea: I have to pay for server usage and have made all content on this website free and always will. I support my family on one income and do research, writing, videos, etc. as a hobby. If you can even spare $1.00 as a donation, please do so: it may not seem like much but if each person reading this would do so, even every now and then, it would add up and really, really help. Here is my donate/paypal page.

Due to robo-spaming, I had to close the comment sections. However, you can comment on my Facebook page and/or on my Google+ page. You can also use the “Share / Save” button below this post.