For 2,000 years now, Christians have viewed by many as being anti-Semitic. This once seemed very logical to me. If you’re for one thing, you must be against another, right? It would seem that this would apply to anything from forms of religion or government to your favorite team in the Super Bowl.
Once I read and understand the message of the Bible, however, it became very clear to me that it’s anything BUT a message against the Jews. How could it be? Jesus is a Jew. His disciples and followers are Jews. His betrayers are Jews. They’re ALL Jews. The conflict was not about Judaism any more than the U.S. Civil War was about geographic latitudes. The conflict was about much deeper issues of values and the human condition.
Jesus gave mercy and forgiveness to any who could see their own failings and wanted to turn from them. He struck out against the worst qualities in us: self-righteousness, self-centeredness, pride, arrogance and ego. Most importantly though, he stuck out against the sin, but still loved the sinner.
In the gospels, we find that people of all walks of life were divided on whether to accept his message of love and selflessness – religious leaders, commoners, Roman soldiers, even the two thieves who hung on the crosses on either side of him at his crucifixion.
The gospel account of Jesus Christ is not a story of one religion against another. It’s the story of what happens when we turn against each other in our self-righteousness, self-centeredness, pride, arrogance and ego.
So have Christians exhibited anti-Semitism? Certainly some have, and in doing so they put themselves in squarely into the center of all that Jesus abhorred. The same is true of any of us who put ourselves ahead of others, be it because of our religion, race, ethnicity, age, sex or any other the thousands of other things that we use to feed our egos and justify our own positions rather than try to seek to understand others.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (of Moses) or the Prophets (of Israel); I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:17-20
“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:35-40
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5 NIV