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Just Who Did Kill Christ?

Tuesday, 01 May 2001 12:00 AM

Every time we give into lust we take a flagum into our hands and lash away at Jesus, shredding His flesh.

Every time we allow our pride to dominate our thoughts, words and deeds we push the crown of thorns deeper into His scalp.

Every time we say a harsh word to a fellow human we mock the Lord as He hangs on the cross forgiving his enemies even as they shout insults at Him.

Sin killed Jesus. Your sins and mine. I know it's considered an exercise in low-browism to mention the fact that Christ sacrificed himself on the cross in propitiation for our sins, but that's what happened.

In recent days we've heard a lot about Paul Weyrich's alleged act of anti-Semitism in citing the biblical accounts of the passion and death of Jesus.

In his column "The Truth Shall Set Your Free," which we ran in last week's issue, Paul had this to say:

" 'Weyrich assailed for citing Jews in Christ's Death' blared the headline across a page of the front section of Saturday's Washington Post. This after someone I don't believe I have ever met charged in a piece prepared for the American Spectator's website that I am a classic anti-Semite.

"My breath has been taken away at all of this. The Post piece suggested that my commentary, entitled 'Christ is Risen' has sparked a raging debate as to the appropriateness of suggesting that Jesus Christ was killed by the Jews of his time. By the way, I put my comments in their historical context.

"So now one Evan Gahr can conclude on this basis that I am an anti-Semite. This is absolutely amazing to me and shows how far down the road to political correctness we have come in our society.

"In my church, during Great or Holy Week, on Great Thursday night there is the Service of the Twelve Gospels. During that service, the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ is sung through the writings of the Four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I defy anyone to hear those Gospels read and to conclude anything other than that Jesus Christ was handed over to the Roman soldiers to be hung on the cross at the insistence of the local Jewish authorities. In fact, Pontius Pilate, representing Rome, was convinced Jesus was innocent. He wanted to set Him free. There was a notorious robber named Barabbas and Pilate figured by offering to free either Christ or Barabbas, the people would choose Christ, since Pilate could find no wrong in Christ.

"But the people, egged on by their leaders, Jewish leaders, the chief priests and scribes, rallied the crowd to choose Barabbas over Christ and demanded that Pilate release Barabbas instead and Jesus was given over to the soldiers to be tortured and hung on the cross until death.

"This is historical fact. Are we now to be forbidden to mention historical fact? Now, those Jews at that time made that decision, just as the whites at the founding of this nation made the decision to have slaves."

As any biblical scholar worth his salt can tell you, when the Gospel writers used the term "the Jews" they were talking only about the Temple authorities, a bunch of sanctimonious and corrupt bureaucrats who kept their feet on the necks of the people just as harshly as did the occupying Romans.

Why would the Apostles who wrote the four New Testament books cast the onus for the crucifixion on their fellow Jews? The authors of the New Testament were all observant Jews – every one of them, as were the vast majority of the earliest Christians.

It would be like an American citizen saying that "the Americans incinerated the Branch Davidians," when in fact it was Bill Clinton and Janet Reno who committed that atrocity. Or saying that "the Americans bombed that aspirin factory in Sudan," when it was, instead, Mr. Clinton.

To the Gospel writers, the term "The Jews" meant the high priests, the Sanhedrin, the scribes and the Pharisees, all of whom earned the scorn of our Lord because of their abuse of their authority. He had defied them, attacked their commercial interests. When he scourged the money changers in the Temple precincts, scholars say he was lashing out at the more profitable enterprises of the High Priest's father-in-law.

They saw him as a threat to their power because he was immensely popular with the Jewish people, who had several times sought to make him their king.

The actual execution was carried out by the Romans, since the power to execute was vested solely in Caesar's minions, but Pilate was only the instrument used by the Temple authorities. They blackmailed him into it by telling him that if he freed Jesus he would be "no friend of Caesar's" – words that chilled him to the bone.

This is history, not bigotry. In my 75 years as a Roman Catholic I have never once been told that the Jewish people killed Christ. The Temple authorities, yes, but not the people. What I have been told is that it was us – you, me, everybody – who killed our Lord with our sinfulness.

The assault on Paul Weyrich was in itself an act of bigotry – just another act of Christian bashing so popular in our atheistic and egregiously ignorant media, the majority of whose members have never so much as opened the pages of a Bible, much less read the Gospel. Such an act of superstition is beneath them, you see.

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee. He can be reached at pvb@pvbr.com

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Every time we give into lust we take a flagum into our hands and lash away at Jesus, shredding His flesh. Every time we allow our pride to dominate our thoughts, words and deeds we push the crown of thorns deeper into His scalp. Every time we say a harsh word to a fellow...
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Tuesday, 01 May 2001 12:00 AM
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