ANNUAL FORTY DAY FAST
TRUTH OF GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE
FAST FOOD: Seventh Helping
Who Murdered Jesus?
The question, “Who murdered Jesus?” is usually more euphemistically presented as, “Who killed Jesus?” Killing a human being is homicide. Unjustly killing a human being is murder. In Jesus’ teaching all intentional homicide is unjust. Hence, for those who follow Jesus—regardless of who is responsible for His crucifixion—He is murdered, not simply killed. So, who murdered Jesus?
There are four favoured answers to this question: the Jews, the Romans, both, all of us. My response is that a minuscule number of Jews and Romans, spiritually and psychologically disordered as a consequence of the Fall—as are human beings universally in various ways—murdered Jesus. But, it makes no difference, which murdered Jesus, because Jesus forgave whoever were His murderers, as we, His followers, must.
But, most often Christians have not followed Jesus in this matter. Christians raised and nurtured in violent, retaliatory, revenge rooted Constantinian Christianity, where the “eye for an eye” moral standard operationally replaces Jesus’ teaching of nonviolent forgiveness, possess not an inkling that Jesus’ wholehearted forgiveness of His murderers means that they must also forgive them. Once then, it is decided that the Jews killed Jesus, the Constantinian Christian’s mind is set to apply the violent “eye for eye” standard of morality, a standard that Jesus explicitly rejects by His words and by His deeds!
However, if Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, what “eye for eye” punishment fits the crime of being a Christ killer? The murder of the Messiah has to be the highest of high crimes. A just punishment has to be the worst punishment available because the crime committed is the worst crime imaginable!
But wait! If Jesus is God Incarnate what “eye for eye” punishment fits the crime of deicide? Since God is infinite, only an infinite punishment would be just.
The virulent and highly contagious violent anti-Semitism that has been part of the institutional Church for most of its existence—and still is—could only have reached the levels of murderous inhumanity it did in a violence-justifying Constantinian Church. The horrors being visited on Palestinians for the last sixty-five years by Israeli Jews are but the shadow of what Constantinian Christianity visited upon Jews for the last seventeen hundred years.
In a Church committed to being an extension in time and space of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels, who taught a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, it would still be possible to commit the sin of murder, but it would not be possible to call murder good, just, necessary or holy. Once any one of these four labels is employed as a descriptive modifier of unjustified homicide, the gates of hell are opened and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—Conquest, War, Famine and Death—are let loose within the Churches and through them across the world.
Substitutes for obeying Jesus’ teaching as a way to bring to a halt the Four Horsemen within the Churches are tried again and again by the Constantinian Churches: treaties, truces, just war theories, and of course the old Roman standby: Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war). But, nothing works, so the Four Horsemen continued their run unbridled within the Churches and through the Churches into the world. Consider: Seventy per cent of the American killers in Iraq and in Afghanistan and in the comfortable chairs from which drones are fired into Pakistan are baptized Christians, just doing their patriotic duty with the support of their Churches. Talk about the Constantinian Churches unleashing the Four Horsemen from hell and thereby turning life into a living hell for millions of infinitely love and valued sons and daughters of the Father of all!
As long as violence justifying, “eye for eye” Constantinian Christianity is the predominant form of Christianity, rationality dictates that Jews—and indeed Muslims as well—better adhere to the theology of and heed the advice of the “Puritan Moses,” the genocidal Christian Constantinian, Oliver Cromwell: “Trust in God but keep your powder dry.” What Cromwell did to the Irish and the Scots, Constantinian Christians do to Muslims today, and did to Vietnamese yesterday etc., and can do, without missing a note at Sunday worship, to Jews tomorrow—if they think they can get away with it.
Of course, the consequences and cost, whether one be Jew, Christian or Muslim, of having oneself, one’s children and one’s society being always at the ready—physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually—to engage in the mass slaughter of other human beings is incalculably destructive of all “that might have been.”
An alternative would be for Jews to say, “Amen,” to the Nonviolent Jesus as their Messiah and magnify to Christianity and to the world what emunah, firm active trust, in God’s Messiah and God’s will as revealed by His Messiah means and looks like. But, this is about as likely to occur as Christians accepting, in absolute trust, the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the will of God unto the eternal salvation of all those whom each loves.