I recently heard an Israeli man speak at a Christian meeting and some of the things he said took me by surprise, some of it shocked me and some shamed me. I am amazed that these things have been in front of my eyes for so long and yet I haven’t seen them! Perhaps I’m not the only one? Firstly, here is my apology :
- I’m sorry if you’ve been lead to believe that the New Testament is a book about how to persecute the Jewish people.
- I’m sorry if you understand Jesus, the son of David, the son of Abraham to have been of any other race than of Jewish descent. (I couldn’t blame you for thinking he could have been Northern European with all those propagandist blonde hair / blue eyed paintings of him).
- I’m sorry for all the horrible ways your people have been persecuted and murdered in the name of ‘Christianity’ and for ‘the sake of the church’.
- I’m sorry if you thought ‘Christ’ was a surname and didn’t know that it is in fact a word derived from the Greek ‘Christos’ which is translated from the Hebrew word for Messiah. All these years you have known him as Jesus Christ but maybe we should have been calling him Yeshua Hamaschiach.
- I’m so sorry for the ways ‘Christians’ have demonstrated ‘love’ towards you by forcing you to denounce your faith.
- I’m sorry for the times we have put the blame at your feet for the death of Jesus.
I could understand that a person would hold a grudge after being bullied for a week or even for just one day. But what if the bullying was so bad it lasted for two thousand years and more?
“Over the course of the past 2,000 years, the Jews have been expelled from virtually every European country. They were kicked out of the German states six times; out of parts of Italy five times; out of France four times. They were massacred by the Babylonians, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Poles, the Russians and, most recently, the Germans. They have to keep thinking of moving from the countries where they live.” Graham Turner
Britain and Ireland sadly are not blameless in this either. An exhaustive list of atrocities against the Jewish people can be found here.
Also if all that time, the type of bullying I’m talking about means the worst atrocities we’re capable of as humans, including victimization, torture and death in the cruelest ways. By ignoring you, looking down on you, spreading lies and slander, sending you to work camps and concentration camps, destroying your homes, your businesses, your pride, your children, we have historically always seemingly found excuses for blaming you for killing ‘our’ Messiah. None of those actions could ever, by the widest stretch of the imagination be described as loving! And yet Christians claim to be followers of a loving God.
After doing a little research I’ve discovered some sickening quotes:
“The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy, rapacious. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the Devil. Their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jew must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is essential that all Christians hate them.” St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose in Milan- 379 A.D.
“Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of godless, anti-Christian criminals. But it would not have been possible without the almost two thousand years’ pre-history of ‘Christian’ anti-Judaism…” Hans Küng
“The Jews are a nervous people. Nineteen centuries of Christian love have taken a toll.” Benjamin Disraeli
I’m ashamed of those words. If I was you I would probably hate me and the faith I represent. The name Jesus would be a hateful stumbling block.
So please please accept my apology. After the meeting I attended last week, I felt compelled to make it public. I’m grateful that I have been made aware of how much damage has been caused because I don’t want to be any part of it. Rather I would like to demonstrate loving kindness towards you. I acknowledge that through your nation, our faith was born so I am thankful.
However what I am not ashamed about is this: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16
This is how the New Testament starts:
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:” Matt 1:1
This is a book about a man, born from a Jewish royal and chosen lineage, who is called the Lion of Judah. He is also the Lamb of God who was sacrificed on Mount Moriah where Isaac was spared his life. He is titled the Son of Man and the Son of God. He was crucified by both Jews and Gentiles, we Christians/Gentiles have no excuse and cannot pass blame, we are all responsible for our own sin and our need for atonement. Through him the Abrahamic promise to be a light to the Gentiles was fulfilled. He was raised from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven. He will return to rule the earth and establish justice.
Romans 11 speaks about the Remnant of Israel and the grafting in of the Gentiles. The apostle Paul, a highly educated and religious Jew, and later follower of Jesus, warns Gentiles against superiority towards the people of Israel. Christians know that the Jewish nation was chosen by God and that his Son, the Messiah was born of the lineage of Abraham, as was prophesied. We are branches that have been grafted on to the tree and we are nourished by the same roots. I am grateful that God had sent Jesus to be the ‘stumbling block’ which has allowed us to be grafted into the tree so that we too can be given life from the roots. This stumbling block was not meant to be a reason for hatred but rather an act of grace so that Gentiles too could receive salvation through Yeshua Hamaschiach.
God, in His wisdom and mercy has formed His plan of redemption of mankind since the beginning of time. It is a mystery to us but we know His gifts and his call are irrevocable.
“But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” 1 Corinthians 1:23