Yes, Happy Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of the Messiah from the dead. Had Jesus simply died on the cross and not risen from the dead, we would remain separated from God and have no hope of heaven. Yet Jesus could not have risen from the dead if He had not died on the cross. It was His death in our place that satisfied the requirements of the Law, paid the penalty for our failure to keep the Law and allowed us to be redeemed by faith. So it follows that Jesus’ resurrection could not have happened without His death and, for us, His death was our only hope. This is why Good Friday is good – good for us but torture and agony for Jesus. He did it for the joy he saw on the other side of death. He did it for us.
Yet, Easter has a dark history of persecution for Jewish people. The centuries old cry to punish Jews for the death of Jesus has not died out. But is it justified? Would God approve? No.
Firstly, God holds the Jewish people in a special place in His heart. He calls them the apple of His eye, which means antisemitism is poking God in the eye. Never a good idea. He promised Abraham that He would create His own special nation from Abraham’s line and that anyone who blessed that nation (Israel) would be blessed by God. Alternatively, anyone who cursed that nation would be cursed by God. Antisemitism is cursed by God. Am I being clear on that? Hate Jews and God will not bless it.
Secondly, Jesus was and still is Jewish. He came to fulfill prophecy given by the God of the Jewish nation to the Jewish people using Jewish prophets. He was a direct descendant of David, a Jewish king. Hate Jews? Then you hate his blood relatives. Harm Jews? Bad idea. He will not look the other way.
Thirdly, we know that it was prophesied that Jesus would be rejected by his own people. Take a stroll through Isaiah 53. Yup, prophesied. If this had not happened, the prophesies would be false and God would be a liar, never to be trusted. God can only be believed if the Jewish people (no, not all of them) rejected Jesus as their Messiah, which is what happened. To punish the Jews for fulfilling God’s prophesies on how Jesus’ death would occur is to defy God. It is to say that you want God to be a liar which means He is not God. You cannot love God and wish for that.
Fourthly, the Jews did not kill Jesus. The Romans did it because legally the Jews couldn’t. Anybody going after the Italians? No. For some reason everyone goes after the Jews. Why? Because antisemitism is anti-God. It comes straight out of the pits of Hell. Satan hates the Jewish people because through them God demonstrates His glory and power. Through them Jesus saved the world. It doesn’t mean the Jews as a nation are better or more godly. It just means they’re chosen. So if you want to be accurate, go after the Romans. Leave the Jews alone.
Next, God knows the spiritual condition of the Jews. He knew what the spiritual condition of the Jewish people was at the time of Jesus’ death and He knows what it is now. Guess what. It hasn’t really changed. Even at the time of Jesus’ death it hadn’t really changed from what it had been at the time of the Exodus. God was constantly warning Israel to turn away from idols and back to Him. Sometimes they did but usually they were balancing on a knife edge with judgment just around the corner. What did God say about that? See Jeremiah 31:37. “If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below explored, I will reject all of Israel’s descendants because of all they have done – this is the Lord’s declaration.” Well, we have not measured the heavens and we have little to no idea of the earth beneath our feet. He KNOWS better than you what the Jewish people have done and He still does not reject them. Good news since as Mark Twain once said the Jews are just like everybody else, just more so. You are no different than they are in your obedience and disobedience to God. Don’t point fingers. And just remember, God is specific here. He says if these things can be measured, He will reject all of Israel’s descendants. All. Jesus is one of them. What are the odds of that happening?
Lastly, without Jesus’ death we have no hope. We are supposed to be profoundly grateful for Jesus’ death and resurrection. We will spend eternity praising and thanking God for it. An eternity of praise and thanksgiving will not be long enough for us to give God the praise and thanks He deserves for what He did for us. So, why would it be justifiable to harm someone for allowing it to happen? Without the obedient disobedience of the Jewish people we would all be destined for Hell. The result of the Jewish nation not accepting Jesus as the promised Messiah was the salvation of the world. The salvation of you.
So Happy Easter. Thank a Jew.