Q: Does the Bible’s teaching about the crucifixion of Christ make people anti-Semitic?”
A: On the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter said, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth. .. was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:22, 23). It is a clear fact of history, of course, that Jews had a direct hand in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But it is equally a fact of Scripture that all people–Jew and Gentile alike–were responsible for bringing about the need for Jesus to give his life at the cross. “Christ died for the ungodly. . . While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8). It surely then does not follow that to speak historically of the Jews actually nailing Jesus to the cross is any expression of anti-Semitism. Nor was the Jewish Peter in his sermon at Pentecost being anti-Semitic in having the people see their sin, repent, and then cry out: “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Far from Christ’s crucifixion ever being a barrier to race relations, it is through his death that any person of any nationality obtains the necessary gift for obtaining eternal life: the full forgiveness of sins. “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). “The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”
Much of today’s media tries to make Christianity, and particularly the cross, the scapegoat for many of the hostilities aimed at the Jews. The fact of the matter is that the only true love we can show to any person of any race, even of the bloodline of Abraham, is to direct the individual to the Lord of Glory who was crucified as the full punishment in the place of all sinners. People who mistreat Jews while pretending to profess Christianity are diametrically opposed to those who truly pray, “. . . open the door of faith unto all the heathen and unto the people of Israel.”
It can be demonstrated in world events that much harm has come upon the Jewish race as a result of the careless cry, “Let His blood be on us and on our children!” But to see this as a fact of history that has been woven into God’s plan for bringing salvation to the entire world is not to be called anti-Semitic in any way! The Gospel is still out there as “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” We rejoice that there are many people of Jewish ancestry today who confess the cross of Christ as their only hope for salvation. We want all others to believe this as well. “And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23).