Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18)
The firm Christian belief that the crucifixion and resurrection are fulfillments of biblical prophesies, particularly Isaiah 53, reinforces that it had to happen as it did. Accordingly, the actors--Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, and others--were merely props in a divinely orchestrated play. It thus demeans Christian theology to usurp God and reduce a divine plan to base human motives and emotions that demand retribution.
Trumping any accusatory finger are the compelling words of Jesus on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
This compassionate statement in the context of Jesus accepting his fate, can be interpreted as: "Forgive them Father for they know not that this has to be; they may think they are responsible but my death is inevitable as part of your [God's] plan."
Moreover, Jesus' death established the foundation for Christianity. In other words, no crucifixion, no resurrection means no Christianity. What would remain is pure Judaism. Taking this scenario a step further, it occurred to me that from the Christian perspective, the accusation of anyone but God for the death of Jesus should have been met with condemnation, and even excommunication of the accuser for denying God's plan. Christians have been excommunicated for lesser blasphemies.
As I concluded in my book: "If Jesus returned today to speak to those who have accused Jews for his sacrifice and crucifixion, he might cry out, "Please, read the Gospels!"
I wondered if this understanding will finally put to rest the indictment of Jews for the death of Jesus. More important, will it foster healing of the Christian-Jewish divide?
Bernard Starr is a psychologist, journalist, and college professor. He is author of Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew, which is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords for other formats.
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