All of humanity put Jesus on the Cross

30th April 2004 at 01:00
In his Another Voice article Rabbi Sidney Brichto (TES, April 16) considers that the Gospel accounts of Jesus's Passion are tainted with anti-Semitism.

It is hardly surprising that he should think this, given the stupid things that Gentile Christians have said and the wicked things they have done to Jewish people over the centuries. Nevertheless, he misunderstands his material.

The New Testament insists that everyone, Jew and Gentile, is in need of God's forgiveness and redemption. The human problem is guilt before God. By drawing attention to the fact that Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders and the Jewish crowd, the New Testament makes an a fortiori argument.

Since Jesus was rejected even by God's chosen people, the custodians of his Law, you can be sure that godless Gentiles would have rejected him too. The Jews are not "more guilty" than anyone else: they represent the human race in its dealings with God. Even the flower of humanity is guilty.

It would indeed be strange if the New Testament were anti-Semitic as Rabbi Brichto fears. Matthew, Mark, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude and the writer to the Hebrews were all Jews.

Even the Gentile author Luke records the essentially pro-Jewish nature of the Gospel. In the last dialogue recorded between Jesus and the apostles - after the Passion - the apostles ask "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus answers that God will do it in his own time.

Paddy Benson Barnston Vicarage 87 Barnston Road Barnston Merseyside

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