Who Killed Jesus?

Dear Rabbi Rami,

 As a Christian, I have always wondered why you Jews killed Jesus? I hope this isn’t a rude question to ask, but I am really curious.

 

The question isn’t rude, and the answer is simple: we didn’t kill him. While the Hebrew Bible doesn’t shy away from capital punishment, Judaism never sanctioned crucifixion. The Romans killed Jesus, and they did so for the same reason they crucified thousands of others: to intimidate people and keep them from challenging Roman rule.

 

I’m not saying that no Jews wanted him dead—my goodness, some Jews want me dead! I’m only saying that most Jews in Jesus’ day never even heard of him, let alone wanted to kill him. When the New Testament lays the blame on “the Jews” it is simply engaging in Jew-hating.

 

Your question raises one of my own. As a Jew who’s God spoke out against both human sacrifice (Genesis 22:11-13) and animal sacrifice (Micah 6: 7–8), though as any reading of Leviticus makes clear God is quite schizophrenic on this point, why do you Christians believe in a God who requires the death of His Son before He can forgive people their failings? Why do you believe in a God that requires the dead of any being in order to keep Himself from going ballistic?

 

I fear any god who requires death to placate his wrath. My God is Micah’s God who requires justice, compassion, and humility rather than obedience, submission, and death.


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