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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Christ Killers

John 19:14-15 (NIV)
It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.  “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.  But they shouted, “Take him away!  Take him away!  Crucify him!”  “Shall I crucify your king?”  Pilate asked.  “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Tonight I watched a video, The Cross and the Star (1997) that reviewed some of the lethal prejudice that Christians throughout history have had towards the Jews—basically seeing the Jews as Christ killers.  This perspective of the Jews is entirely foreign to anything I have ever experienced in my lifetime in the United Methodist Church.  Since my father was a minister in the church and since I occasionally attended church annual conferences with him and then in later years on my own (as well as retreats, seminars, and student conferences), it is remarkable in the light of the history reviewed in the film that I never heard one word of racial or religious prejudice during my years of association with the church.  Of course, I’ve heard and read the above scripture (John 19:14-15); but I always understood that Jesus and his disciples were Jews—and, of course, in this sense we worshipped a Jew.  Never was the target of criticism the Jews per se, but the hypocrisy and pride of the “scribes and Pharisees.”  And this was never mentioned to denigrate any religion, but to focus on our own behavior and tendencies towards hypocrisy and pride.  Of course, the unfortunate aspects of human nature were the subject of countless sermons and were seen as inherent in everyone.  The example and spirit of Christ was to help us overcome the “natural man” in ourselves, not to look with prejudice towards others.  I can’t fathom why this point of view so obvious to me was turned into racial prejudice throughout the centuries.  As for me and the fellow Christians I know, when we look for “Christ killers” we search for the frailties and foibles within our own nature—we start with ourselves. As I’ve heard throughout my life, “our sins put Jesus on the cross.”
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