Listening for the Bible's Message

Listening for the Bible's Message

Sunday, April 19, 2015
| Acts 3:12-19

In today's text, the apostle Peter says: "You Israelites, ... you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses." Harsh. What did he mean?

A poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League a little over a year ago found that 26 percent of Americans believe that the Jews killed Jesus.

That's a troublesome finding when we realize that the question isn't very specific. It doesn't ask, for example, if a "few Jews" or "certain Jews" or "some Jewish religious leaders" were involved in getting Jesus crucified. It also doesn't designate a time period, so that, although Jesus was killed in about A.D. 30, some people have considered Jews of every generation since as somehow complicit in Jesus' death.

And the question doesn't even touch on the fact that Jesus was put to death using a Roman form of execution -- crucifixion -- at the order of a Roman official and carried out by Roman soldiers. Yet nobody thinks of Italians when asked, "Who killed Jesus?"

Nonetheless, the poll's finding is not really surprising, because the New Testament itself, and especially the gospel of John, blames Jesus' death on an undifferentiated cohort identified ...

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