The Jews Killed Jesus, Didn't They?
by Nancy Petrey
The fact that the Church has Jewish roots escaped my notice as a Christian until twenty years ago. I had a rude awakening when I attended an “Israel in Prophecy” Conference. I was shaken to learn that the “Father of the Protestant Reformation,” Martin Luther, the one who wrote the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” had also written a booklet, “Concerning the Jews and Their Lies.” This booklet was published by Goebbels in 1936 and became official Nazi propaganda! I learned that Luther was influenced by replacement theology, the belief that the Jews had killed Jesus, so God had rejected them as His chosen people and replaced them with the mostly Gentile Church. Replacement theology, a deadly virus, would give God’s covenants, promises, and blessings to the Church and leave the curses to the Jews. The process that cut off the Jewish roots of the Church began around A.D. 135 and was made official by Constantine at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. At that time pagan practices took root instead! Anti-Semitism flourished in the Church and found expression in the Crusades, the Inquisition and, finally, the Holocaust.
Whole denominations of the Church have been taught that God rejected the Jews, because they were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. They ignore the fact that Jesus willingly laid down His life, and that the Jewish religious leaders (not the multitudes of Jews who followed Jesus), in complicity with the Gentile Romans, put Him to death. However, a distinct Hebrew Roots movement began emerging in the mid-1990s. Today many Christians are getting reconnected to their Jewish roots, as God has revealed to them the tremendous debt the Church owes to the Jewish people through whom we received our Messiah and the Scriptures. Attention has now been given to Paul’s admonition that we “wild branches,” Gentile believers, have been grafted into the Jewish olive tree, and that we should not boast against the natural branches, the Jews. It is the root which supports us. We have received our nourishment from their cultivated tree.
Since my attendance at that conference in 1995, I have become aware that the Church was born on a Jewish feast day (Shavuot/Pentecost), and Jewish apostles, including Paul, spread the gospel. The first fifteen bishops of the Church were not only Jewish but relatives of Jesus Christ! There were possibly no Gentile members until ten years later.
My little book of forty pages, Why Christians Should Care About Their Jewish Roots, is a great resource for Christians to help them align with God’s purposes in the end times, thereby preparing the way of the Lord as He returns to Jerusalem. Don’t forget that Jesus was born King of the Jews and died as King of the Jews. Our Messiah is Jewish! How fitting that the King of kings and Lord of lords will reign over the world from Jewish Jerusalem, another proof of the Jewishness of Christianity.
Every pastor should have a copy of this book, not only for the reasons already stated but to help his people become aware of and guard against a new form of anti-Semitism, which is anti-Zionism. Replacement theology and Palestinian liberation theology have combined to give birth to the BDS movement (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel, the Zionist nation. Some churches and Christian leaders have bought into the Palestinian narrative – “everything’s Israel’s fault.” Exposing the error of this disguised anti-Semitism was one of my objectives in writing the book. Be aware that those who bless Israel are blessed, and those who curse Israel are cursed (Gen. 12:3).
Did the Jews Kill Jesus? What is your answer to that question? My answer is that all of us who claim Jesus as Savior and Lord, both Jews and Gentiles, are the ones who killed Jesus, because He died for our sins. He willingly gave His life, so we could be forgiven and have eternal life.
 Romans 11:11-32
 Dr. Ron Moseley, Yeshua, A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Early Church (Baltimore: Messianic Jewish Publishers, 1996, p. xviii), p. 11 citing Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History.
 Based on social justice as seen through the eyes of the poor. Detractors call it “Christianized Marxism.”
Nancy, I cannot top the perfect answer you gave to the question, “Who killed Jesus”? It covers all the bases! I am so thankful that He died for us all. Yes, and that He loved us enough to be the perfect Sacrifice for us. Thank you for this enlightening article!
Thank you for leading us in the truth
And thank you, Jean, for your encouraging comment. As we delight in the Lord, we can also delight in His Jewishness!
I think it’s important to note that blaming whole groups for the actions of a few is a strong human tendency. It’s often good survival behavior, for example when we see a certain snake bite someone and we stay away from other snakes. At the same time it’s worth noting that not all snakes are poisonous.
This becomes extremely dangerous when we apply it to people. The Jews have been subject to this for many centuries. They are identifiable as a people, and that means that those who will hate identify the whole group with individuals, and then the stereotype reinforces. It is important, as Nancy says, not to do this. Much hatred and killing has resulted.
At the same time we realize that the Jews were not responsible as a people for the death of Jesus, we also need to learn to avoid that behavior with regard to any people group.
Shortly after 9/11, I was riding in a taxi with a Sikh driver. I was able to recognize his faith by his clothing and confirmed it in conversation. But because that clothing involves head-gear, I knew he could be mistaken for an Arab. Once we had gotten to know one another a bit, I asked him whether he had been threatened following the attacks as I knew other Sikhs had been. He said he had received death threats and that he had to change his manner of dress for a time in order to continue working.
Many of the same human attitudes that have resulted in persecution of the Jews result in persecution of other people. We see one person who looks a certain way and we decide to blame everyone. Every time someone who looks like that or is identified with that group does something we don’t like, we build hate.
Not only should that Sikh taxi driver not have faced threats because he looked like another group, the other group (Arabs, Muslims) should not face threats and mistreatment because of what other members of their group do.
As Christians who have the example of Jesus, and in turn the example of our own history, we should be very sensitive to mistreating whole categories of people because of what one or more people do. We should say that this is not a path we will go down again. We can act against evil by responding to those who actually carry it out without in turn creating hatred of those who are innocent.
The persecution of the Jews is terrible. We must reject anti-semitism vigorously. At the same time let’s reject prejudice as a whole. Surely we can apply this lesson broadly and be more Christ-like in the world.
I agree, Henry.
Henry, you have addressed the subject of prejudice and hate, extending to whole people groups, as well as I’ve ever heard. Thank you, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I guess it is an ever-present temptation these days to group people together in our reaction to terrible events or in events that are charged with emotion. I appreciate your taking the time to share your experience and understanding.
God bless you,
Nancy I totally agree with your answer of “Who killed Jesus?”. It was only a few years ago that I gave any thought to the Jewish people and anti-Semitism. Like you I had a rude awakening. I am reading your book now and it is full of information to help us all become more aware of our Jewish roots and the Jewish people. Psalm 122:6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.”
Thank you, Janie B., Henry, and Debra for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time to give your thoughts on this important subject. May the God of Israel bless you!
Nancy, in looking over your three posts, I recognize you have a heart full of love for Israel and its people, as we all should. However, that should not blind us to certain realities on the ground there. My concern is that you equate Israel and Zionism. They are not the same thing. In fact, many Israelis, as well as Jews throughout the world are anti-Zionists. So I would encourage you not to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. That would make hundreds of thousands of Israelis and Jews anti-Semitic. I don’t think they would appreciate that.
Steve, since Zionism is the movement supporting the right of the Jewish people to be settled on their ancient land, then those opposing this belief with their actions and words would have to be considered anti-Semitic. The promises and covenants of God written in Scripture to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel are still in effect. God called it an EVERLASTING covenant for the land, the holiest of all real estate, which is in the center of the earth. God’s plan of redemption began and will be concluded in the land called Israel, so the conflict of the land is really a spiritual conflict. Anti-Zionists are opposing God’s Word, even though they may not realize it. God promised Abraham that those who blessed him and his descendants would be blessed, and those who cursed him would be cursed (Gen. 12:3). That is still in effect also. There are Americans who don’t love America and work against her best interests. Likewise, there are Israelis and Jews in other parts of the world who don’t love Israel and work against her best interests. But the most hurtful thing is when those claiming salvation in the Jewish Messiah do not love the Jewish people who are Yeshua’s own people and do not support the ones in Israel in their conflict with hostile groups and countries surrounding them. Myths concerning the land of Israel, Jews, and Palestinians abound. Many times ignorance of Scripture and history is the cause, but God is unchanging in His purpose to wind up human history in Jerusalem and install His Son as King of the world (King of the Jews, too) on the Temple Mount!
I meant to add to my comment a reference for the last sentence – Psalm 2: 1-8.
The religious have always come against the freedom of the Spirit. David’s wife represented them when she got angry when her husband humbled himself removing his kingly attire and became as a common man dancing before the Lord when the ark was coming home.
Thanks, Jeff, for giving us a different angle on this subject of who killed Jesus. Yes, we have a war between the flesh and the spirit, both on the inside and outside. Would that we all be as uninhibited and wholehearted in our worship of God as King David was!!
Steve, I want to thank you once again for your excellent graphics for my three posts and for your expert ability in administrating this site. You really are tech-savvy!
Nancy, I need to ask thisquestion just to put it on the table: Do you believe one can attain eternal happiness with God if one is not a Christian? In the specific context of these conversations, how do you view the question of the salvation of one who is a Jew and has not accepted Jssus as Savior? If you deal with that in your book or if I have missed it in one of your posts, I aplologize. I have a concern that many Christians deny the possibility of eternal happiness with God to those who do not affirm Jesus,as Savior. Thanks, Bob
Thanks, Bob, for asking an important question. Paul said, “If the firstfruit is holy [“set apart,” speaking of the first Jewish believers in Yeshua}, the lump [rest of the Jewish people] is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches” (Rom. 11:16). He goes on to say that because of unbelief these natural branches [unsaved Jews] were broken off (vs.20). If they do not continue in unbelief, they will be grafted back in (vs. 23), into “their own olive tree” (vs. 24). Then Paul continues to point out that believing Gentiles are key in God’s purpose that “all Israel will be saved” (vss. 25-26). (We have been called to witness to them, “first to the Jew,” Paul said – Rom. 1:16.) I think this will be a national salvation, but it will still be a “remnant” (vs. 5). We are coming into those exciting times now, as I believe the return of the Lord is imminent. As for finding “eternal happiness” outside of accepting God’s Son (John 3:16) as Savior and Lord, that can’t happen. If there had been any other way, God would never have let Yeshua make that sacrifice on the cross! What a horrible tortuous death, not only physically, but taking the sins of all people of all time in that single redeeming act was horrendous! He went to hell for us! The verse that brought me into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ was this: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If we think there is or should be another way, then we are telling God it wasn’t necessary to send His Son to earth, live among us, suffer all that persecution from the religious leaders every day, and then die that awful death that we ourselves deserved because of our sins! God is not willing that even one soul should perish, and He has and is making every effort to reach people with the gospel. He gave us free will, so we must make the choice. We have the freedom to accept His plan (His Son) and have eternal life, or we can reject His plan (His Son). I pray that the people you love who have not yet believed in Jesus will be drawn to Him and accept what He did for them on the cross. And every Jew must make that decision, too.
In honesty, I take a different perspective. I am concerned when Christians say, in essence, that God can’t save outside of the human act of adhering to a specific belief. When all is said and done, this profound awareness of the Jewishness of Jesus falls short of saying that God can bring into eternity the Jew who does not affirm Jesus as Messiah.
There is a chasm within the Christian body between those who affirm a ‘believe in Jesus only ‘ salvation and those who affirm that God, in God’s power, can save those outside of those who do not make this observation.
Simply put, I am comfortable contending that those Christians in eternal bliss will be surrounded by Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims………..and many more….
I know it is a point of disagreement but I think it is important that I state my perspective…
Typed too fast…I meant ‘ who do not make this AFFIRMATION’
Bob, you have every right to state your belief. I can see that you do not think all of the Bible is true. But for me, I have to stand on what God’s inspired Word plainly states: “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5: 10-12) John 3:16 says it all — “that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” I rest my case. That is what I believe.
These differences in approach are reflective of a significant difference on this matter within the church. While I think back and forth argumentation is not productive, I certainly think dialogue is important- and I applaud you for the depth of your research and your deep faith…
In much of my writing, I talk about an ecumenical center, i.e. points of agreement between/among Christians of different perspectives. In A HOME UNITED, I highlight the difficulty some within the Christian community might have in embracing interreligious marriage….
I am hopeful that respectful dialogue can be kept open…..I have read too much blogging over the years in which people fire Bible verses at each other…..That is not productive so I will try to refrain from that. However, good, healthy respectful discussion is what we need..
Best wishes and God bless you-
Dear Bob, may I say one more thing? This is a suggestion for you to pray about – would you simply ask Jesus what He thinks about this subject we have been discussing?
Praying is like breathing to those who follow Jesus..Peace,Bob
Amen to that! I have seen Him answer lots of prayers for me and others. What a Savior!