This year during LENT we have listened to some of the most beautiful and meaningful stories of people connecting with Jesus. Nicodemus who realised God’s power was in Jesus, the renegade rabbi — the Samaritan Women who came to a thirsty “stranger” at a well — a blind guy who only found out who Jesus was after he was kicked out of church, and Lazarus who laughed at death all the way out of the tomb. Each of these recordings comes from John’s gospel.
For some reason John refers to the Judean religious authorities as “The Jews”, this is especially the case in the latter two stories. This title is confusing and less than helpful for a number of reasons.
First, it fails to make the distinction between the ordinary people and the religious leaders. Second, with today’s post-holocaust-ears it sounds very anti-Semitic. Third, this tempts us to say “it was them and not us who crucified Jesus.” Fourth, it almost suggests that Jesus himself was not a Jew!
Let us remember that every character from each segment of the Crucifixion story exists within each one of us. The deserting disciples, threatened leaders, betraying Judas, denying Peter, wailing women, steadfast women, obedient soldiers … we killed Jesus not them! Paradoxically only when we can admit that we are guilty are we set free.
Sunday 17 April 2011