My friend wrote to me recently and told me of a Christian-professing church in Europe, in our day now, that begins its services every Sunday with the priest leading the congregation in a chant of "Hate the Jews! Hate the Jews! Hate the Jews!" My friend asked me, "How can that be justified?" My answer, as I hope that yours would be, is that it can't be justified. It's wrong. It's evil.
A Biblical Reality Check
Joseph, a very good and righteous man who was chosen by God to be the legal step-father of Jesus Christ, and who is highly respected by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike, was a Jew. (Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38)
Mary, the righteous woman who was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus Christ, a woman who is regarded on a near-divine status by Roman Catholics, and who is greatly respected by Protestants, was a Jew. (Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38)
Peter, who the Roman Catholic Church regards as the first pope, whose body is now reportedly buried at the Vatican, was a Jew.
Paul, who was personally converted by Jesus Christ On The Road To Damascus, the man who wrote a very large part of the Christian New Testament, a man who a number of popes have been named after, was a Jew.
John, one of Jesus' closest friends, the man who wrote the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, the man who cared for Mary after Jesus was crucified, a man who a number of popes have been named after, was a Jew.
Nearly all of the first Christians were Jews, who continued to call themselves Jews, and think of themselves as Jews, because they regarded Christianity as the fulfillment of Judaism, not its replacement, or its enemy.
"Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue, and so spoke that a great company believed, both of Jews and of Greeks." (Acts 14:1 RSV)
"they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers; and when they had brought them to the magistrates they said, "These men are Jews." (Acts 16:19-20 RSV)
"And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them; and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them, and they worked, for by trade they were tentmakers. And he argued in the Synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks." (Acts 18:2-4 RSV)
"Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in Spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus." (Acts 18:24-25 RSV)
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16 RSV)
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him." (Romans 10:12 RSV)
Jesus was rejected primarily by the members of the Sanhedrin (the religious ruling council) of that time, largely for their own personal, political reasons, not by all Jews. In Scriptures that describe "the Jews" opposing the early church, it was almost always other Jews, Christian Jews, that they were opposing. For every Jew there was that wanted Jesus crucified, there was another Jew who was horrified to see it happen.
A vital point to realize is that Jesus came to be sacrificed. If the leadership of that time did not reject Him, they would not have had the Romans (whose part in the killing of Jesus is almost always ignored by those who express hatred toward Jews - no churches chanting, "Hate the Romans! Hate the Romans! Hate the Romans!") kill Him, and the world would still be without a Savior. Jesus came as the "Lamb of God," to be sacrificed at, and as, Passover. Only the Jews were then observing Passover, and only they could have done what had to be done.
And, most importantly, let's not forget, Jesus was a Jew.
"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and He went to the Synagogue, as His custom was, on the Sabbath day." (Luke 4:16 RSV)
"The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that You, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." (John 4:9-10 RSV)
"Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." (John 4:21-22 RSV)
"And Pilate asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him, "You have said so." (Luke 23:3 RSV)
A Scene From The Judgment Day?
Come the Judgment Day, I certainly would not want to be among any "Christians" who may find themselves facing this question from Jesus Christ: "My honorable step-father was a Jew. My dear mother was a Jew. Most of My chosen apostles were Jews. Most of the first Christians were Jews, and many thousands of them were martyred for their belief and faith in Me. And I, your Judge and Savior, was a Jew. So, what's this I hear that you hate Jews?"
Fact Finder: Is racism, any kind of racism, evil?
See The Evil Of Racism
This Week's Bible Quiz
Who said it?
1. "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of The Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn."
2. "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee; how much less this house [or Temple] which I have built?"
3. "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty."
4. "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue."
5. "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?"
6. "Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him."
7. "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham."
8. "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men."
9. "Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. I now bid you take heart; for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship."
10. "So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."
For the answers to this January 23 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page