Setting the Record Straight by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

“Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).

I am here at the University of Oxford at the ISGAP Antisemitism Institute studying alongside Jews, Muslims and Christians. We are trying to develop ways to combat the issue of antisemitism. One of the common myths that has led to this hatred is that “the Jews killed Jesus.” Every time I hear this I want to shout, “This is not true!”

First of all, it was a Roman leader, Pilate, who ultimately made the decision to crucify Jesus, but more importantly, we have to remember that Jesus chose to go to the cross for us and could have halted the process. In John 18:10, while Jesus was being arrested, his disciple, Peter, impulsively cut off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant.

However, Jesus restored the ear, and in Matthew 26 he rebukes Peter saying, Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” One legion represents 6,000 so Jesus is saying he could have summoned 72,000 angels to defend him.

Jesus chose to go to the cross as a part of his redemptive plan.

We must change the narrative. I wonder why some people are angry about this? Did they not want a Savior? Did they not want Jesus to die? If this had not happened, there would be no hope. No access to God. No eternity. Instead, we should be thankful for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We should also honor the Jewish people. Because it is through them that we first came to know the one true God in the first place. It is because of the Torah that we understand the ways and expectations of the Creator of the world. We must also remember that Jesus was Jewish. Someone at our institute shared that many depict Jesus as an Australian surfer. This is far from the truth. He was a Middle-eastern man who followed Jewish traditions. Most of his early followers were Jewish. This was a Jewish movement to which Gentiles were grafted in (Romans 11:11-31). So there are many who need to rewire their thinking. Jesus’ death was not the result of an act of hatred. This was an act of God’s love. His Son was the unblemished lamb who voluntarily gave up His life for us.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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  1. Lisa, this is a beautifully crafted essay. God bless and open many many channels of dialogue and friendship.

  2. Beautifully written Lisa!! We have a war between good and evil, and what’s good is now becoming evil, and what’s evil is deemed good.

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