The Passion Of The Christ - Who Really
The talk of the movie industry lately has
been Mel Gibson's movie entitled "The Passion Of The Christ". Part
of the controversy surrounds a perceived anti-Semitic bios in the movie. The
historic account of Jesusí death can be found in the Bible, which by any
standard of historical reasoning does give an accurate portrayal of this
event. Therefore we need to ask what the Bible says about this event, and
who it claims killed Jesus?
Not many days after Jesus was killed, the Apostle Peter on a
few occasions had a chance to comment on this subject. It is quite
interesting and relevant to see what he had to say since he was an eye
"Peter stood up and ... addressed the crowd, 'you
fellow Jews' ... " (Acts 2:14) Note that Peter is addressing his
remarks to Jews. He continues, "Men of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth was a
man accredited by God ... this man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God's
set purposes and foreknowledge, and you, with the help of wicked men, put
Him to death". (Acts 2:22-23) In Peter's thinking it is clear that
certain Jews, with the help of wicked men (Roman soldiers) put Jesus to
death. We must also note that Peter believed that the death of Jesus was
part of "God's purpose and foreknowledge". I will come back to
Again in Acts 3:13 Ė 14 Peter makes another similar
statement. He says, "Men of Israel ... you handed Him (Jesus) over to
be killed ... you killed the author of life". Peter also notes in Acts
3:13 that these Jewish people "disowned Him before Pilate, though he
had decided to let Him go".
Peter comments on this subject again in Acts 4:10. He says,
"then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified..." It is clear by these
statements who Peter thought was involved in the death of Jesus.
These are the historical facts. Certain Jews, not all,
wanted Jesus dead. They could not kill Him legally. They brought Him to
Pilate who had the authority to execute criminals. Pilate found no fault
with Jesus and did not want to execute Him but was persuaded to do so by the
Jewish leadership. This is the historical record and this is what Peter
Peter believed that there was more to Jesus' death than
simply being killed by certain Jews and the Roman soldiers. Remember, he
said, "I know that you (Jews) acted in ignorance ... but this is how
God fulfilled what He had foretold..." (Acts 3:17-18) Peter
believed that God Himself was involved in the death of Jesus.
How could God be involved in killing His own Son? Isaiah
53:10 says that "it was the Lord's will to crush Him (Jesus) and cause
Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering..."
We can see by this prophecy of Isaiah that God Himself needed to see Jesus
die. Why? Because by Jesusí sacrificial death, He "would justify
many". (Isaiah 53:11) To be justified is the process by which God views
us as perfectly right, just as He Himself is perfectly right in all things.
God was justly angry at mankind for who he became, and
therefore had to punish him. A perfectly just God could do nothing else, or
else He would not be just. Yet God loved us and did not desire to punish us.
So God demonstrated His love towards us by punishing Jesus instead. This
punishment bestowed on Jesus satisfied Godís sense justice, resulting in
God's anger being turned away from us. Thus, God's justice and
love met together on the cross. For those of us who accept this as
truth, God views us as perfectly right, even though we are far from such a
Many find it hard to believe that God could ever be angry,
and even angry enough to kill His own Son. Yet this is the Biblical record.
If you chose not to accept this as factual, then you chose not to accept the
Biblical account That is your prerogative. Yet for those of us who do chose
to accept the Biblical account, we can only be eternally grateful.
The historical events surrounding the death of Jesus should
be interpreted in the light of who really killed Jesus, and that was God
Himself. With this in mind, there is no anti-Semitic thinking in the
historical record, nor should we view any accurate portrayal of this event
as anti-Semitic. God Himself ultimately put Jesus to death.