Saturday, March 20, 2010
Jesus the Jew
One of the disturbing aspects of Christian history around Easter was the persecution of Jews. Through the centuries Jewish residents of European towns were persecuted during Holy Week as "Christ killers." This hatred was often stirred up by local clergy. In the years leading up to WW2 some Lutherans in Germany were incited to violence against their Jewish neighbours.
The long history of religious anti-Semitism is barely comprehensible, especially since Jesus was a Jew, as were his disciples, and the apostle Paul. While Paul is arguably the founder of what we call Christianity, he never condemned those with whom he had shared a faith.
This was all brought to mind by the news of the recent conviction of two brothers in Poland who stole the sign for the Auschwitz concentration camp back in December of 2009. The theft was related to anti-Semitism and a grim reminder that we need to regularly remind ourselves that hatred directed toward any group is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus the Christ and the Jew from Nazareth.