Myth: The Jews Killed the Messiah also called Jesus the Christ

A Bible Perspective

Anti-Semitism is on the rise and therefore a number of myths about Jews are being spread in mainstream western culture. One, often propagated by so called Christians, is that the Jews killed Jesus Christ; which allows the development of notions that Jews need to be expelled from society. If the myth was indeed true, the Bible could not be true, nor could Jesus who clearly stated the truth, which he did!

In John’s gospel, Jesus states “I am the good shepherd”, and therefore, “I lay down my life for the sheep”. Noting the first person singular, we can see it is Christ himself that lays down his life for the sheep. Satan wants all for himself; the ransom is Christ’s life – a ransom from the slavery of sin – the bondage of the law and from the grave (Shoel) and death and hell. From Matthew we see that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). This is fully explained by Paul to Timothy: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). If there was a ransom, there was a price, for every ransom has a price, such a price that could not be paid with corruptible things like silver or gold as Peter states “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:19).

That Christ himself laid down his own life is repeated by Jesus in the same passage: “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:14-18). Note that Jesus states:

1. He has the power to lay down his life, and he will do so.
2. He has the power to take it up again, ie rise from being dead, and he will do so.
3. No one would take his life from him.
4. The action was in response to a command from God the Father. That is the death of Jesus Christ was commended by God.

The preceding passage is a predictive passage, that is, prophecy. One can then turn to Scriptures to see if this eventuated. A cursory glance at Scripture reveals the following sequence of events unfolded, exactly as prophesied by Christ: “"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” (Mark 10:33-34).

The Jews certainly were involved: they falsely accused him using treacherous evidence from a disciple named Judas, and the high officials concocted a web of deceit in order to demand a death sentence, but it was not within their power to actually kill him. Jesus was turned over to Pontius Pilate, who had the power to let him loose, but chose not to and under pressure from the Jews, gave Jesus over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him. Note that it was the Romans who rightly named the position of Christ “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:28, John 19:20). And therefore the second part of the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled – the Jews turned Jesus over to the Gentiles who mocked and scourged him and killed him.

However, we need to note carefully the words of the Apostle. The Holy Spirit reveals that Jesus “gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30, Matthew 27:50). Indeed the Romans were bothered by this when they came the next day to break the legs of those being crucified to hasten death, to find that Jesus was already dead (John 19:31 – 33). Luke records that Jesus’s last words were: “Father, ‘into your hands I commit my spirit.’” and immediately “he breathed His last” (Luke 23:46). The implications are clear – Jesus Christ gave up his own life.  No-one could take his life, but he came to give up his life. This aligns with Jesus words recorded in John 10:18 and the gospel recorded in Galatians 2:20, where Paul speaks: “…I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

So although taken to the Romans to be killed, Jesus could not have his life taken away from him, unless the Father had allowed it. It was not within the power of humans to kill Jesus, but it was within the power of God to allow humans – both Jew and Gentile – to have their hands bloodied by crucifying the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus had already warned the chief priests and elders of the people that they had no power of their own in this matter – Christ the Son of God had access to, but choose not to avail himself, of the power of heaven and warns Peter who wanted to fight off with a sword the chief priests and elders of the people who came to arrest him on false charges saying; “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53). Twelve legions of Roman soldiers would have been 12 times 6000 (same suggest higher numbers), yet a single angel was able to kill 850,000 Syrian soldiers one evening (2 Kings 19:35) indicating the strength of power Jesus could have mustered if he so desired, yet he, like a lamb led to slaughter and as sheep before the its shearers, was silent, and meekly went before his false accusers. John Gill writes on the John 10:18 passage: “nor did any man, take away his life from him, without his own consent; he voluntarily surrendered himself, or he could never have been taken; he went freely to the cross, or he could never have been led there; he suffered himself to be nailed to the accursed tree, and when he hung on it, he could easily have disengaged himself, and come down; and when they had him there, they could not have taken away his life, had he not of himself given up the ghost, and breathed out his life and soul”.

In conclusion, both Jew and Gentile are accused of the death of Christ. All sinners are responsible yet it was the love of God that led his Son to give his life for us, willingly, like a shepherd laying down his life in the face of a wolf for the sake of his sheep, Jesus Christ laid down his life for our sakes so that any who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is saved:

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

David L Simon
Posted: 22 Mar 2015