Are Jews “Christ-Killers”?

It is an accusation as old as Christianity itself: “The Jews killed Jesus.” Throughout the centuries, many self-proclaimed Christians have joined or led the fight against the Jewish people, charging them with deicide—the murder of God. In their eyes, this unforgivable crime committed by Jews of antiquity demonstrates the inherent wickedness of the entire race, leaving them and their descendants forever cursed as “Christ-killers.” In today’s increasingly anti-Jewish climate, a growing number of believers are once again espousing this allegation, claiming that the Bible undeniably testifies that the Jews are responsible for Yeshua’s death. But Scripture doesn’t actually support this teaching… does it?

As hard as it may be for us to stomach, Scripture does really say that the Jews killed Yeshua. One example of this is in Acts 2, where Keifa addressed a crowd of Jews from throughout the Diaspora, assembled in Jerusalem for Shavuot (v. 1-11). In verse 36, he said to them, “Therefore, let all the house of Yis’rael [Israel] know assuredly that God made Him both Master and Messiah—this Yeshua whom you crucified” (mjlt).

Additionally, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about how the Messiah-followers in Judah were persecuted by “the Y’hudiym [Jews], who also put to death both the Master Yeshua and the prophets” (1Th. 2:14-15, mjlt). Even in the Hebrew Scriptures, Zechariah prophesied that one day, “the house of David and… the inhabitants of Jerusalem… will look on Me whom they have pierced” (12:10, nasb). Disturbing though they may be, these verses cannot legitimately be reinterpreted or made to sound more palatable. The inescapable biblical fact is—the Jews did indeed kill Yeshua.

However… before the Jew-haters start cheering, they also need to read what the rest of Scripture says—namely, that the Gentiles killed Yeshua too. As it says in Acts 4:25-27, referencing Psalm 2, “‘[T]he Goyim [Gentiles] rage… and the leaders were gathered together against Adonai and against His Messiah.’ For both Herod and Pontius Pilate were gathered together in truth in this city with Goyim and peoples of Yis’rael against Your holy servant Yeshua…” (mjlt).

Rather than placing the blame solely on the shoulders of the Jews, this passage implicates both Jews and Gentiles together in the murder of Yeshua. In fact, when Yeshua prophesies about His own death in Luke 18:31-33, He doesn’t even explicitly mention the Jews’ involvement, instead saying that “He will be handed over to the Goyim, and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon; and having flogged Him, they will put Him to death…” (mjlt, cf. Mat. 27:26ff). According to Yeshua’s own words, it was the Gentiles who put Him to death. As biblically correct as it may be to say that the Jews killed Yeshua, it is equally correct to say that the Gentiles killed Yeshua—and it is biblically untenable to pin the crucifixion solely on either camp.

To assert “The Jews killed Jesus!”—while ignoring or downplaying the Gentiles’ culpability—is to distort the testimony of Scripture and spread a malicious, antisemitic lie. It paints Jews as somehow being exceptionally evil on account of their ancestry, and therefore deserving of hate and persecution. According to Christ-killer theology, all persecution which befalls Jews is their own fault, since (the antisemites would have us believe) they are under a self-incurred curse. After all, the Jewish crowd themselves said, “His blood is upon us, and upon our children!” (Mat. 27:25, mjlt). But no matter how loudly antisemites (or even Jews themselves) call for a blood curse on Israel, God will never obey any of them. As He said in Ezekiel 18:19-20, “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’… The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity…” (nasb).

Rather than bearing our fathers’ guilt, every one of us is charged with our own sin, so that neither Jews nor Gentiles can claim to be better than each other (Rom 3:9). Our forefathers’ sins do not determine how God judges us. On the contrary, no matter how far Jews stray from God—even to the point of becoming enemies of the Good News—Jews will always be “beloved on account of the fathers,” having been called irrevocably by God (Rom. 11:28-29, mjlt). Jews are “the sons of the prophets,” to whom God sent Yeshua first, in order to bless them by blotting out their sins (Acts 3:17-26, mjlt). The past and present sins of Jewish people (including participation in Yeshua’s death) can never justify hatred and antisemitism. It should instead cause believers to labor in love for the salvation of Israel, so they can receive all the blessings found in their own Jewish Messiah.

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The Bible is clear: the Jews killed Yeshua… and the Gentiles killed Yeshua. Messiah’s murder is not a uniquely Jewish crime, and to claim otherwise serves nothing except to distort the truth and foment antisemitism. Indeed, every one of us bears guilt for Yeshua’s death, because it was on our account—for the sins of us all—that He was sacrificed. But the reality is that no one took Yeshua’s life from Him; He gave His own life willingly (John 10:17-18)—for the Jew first, and for all mankind.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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