Mel Gibson was so severely criticized for including in The Passion of the Christ the statement Jews made during Christ’s trial, “His blood be upon us and upon our children,” that Gibson removed that scene from the movie.
But in 33 AD Jesus’ contemporaries, gathered in Jerusalem from all over Israel for Passover, did make that chilling statement, cursing themselves and all their generations to come with the guilt of putting their Messiah to death. It is recorded in Matthew 27:24-26 (above).
This does not mean we are not all, every one of us, Jew and non-Jew alike, responsible for that death. Nor does it justify persecuting Jews for that or any other reason.
In 33 AD the Jews “did not recognize the time of their visitation” by their Messiah (Luke 19:44). They “did not accept their opportunity for salvation.” And so salvation was offered instead to the gentiles. When, through spiritual blindness, the Jews rejected their Messiah, their self-curse re-enforced this blindness on down through their generations.
The thoroughly Jewish Saul of Tarsus, “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5) wrote to Roman Christians, “I want you to know my brethren, this mystery, lest you would be wise in your own opinion, that blindness of heart has for a little time come to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles will come in” (Romans 11:25, Aramaic Bible in Plain English). Many translations use the word “hardening: “a partial hardening has come upon Israel.” GOD’S WORD Translation has, “The minds of some Israelites have become closed until all of God’s non-Jewish people are included.”
Second Corinthians chapter 3 calls it a “veil.” The passage starts out describing the veil Moses put across his face whenever he came down Mt. Sinai after having been in G-d’s presence, because the light of G-d’s glory lingering on his countenance was so intense “the children of Israel could not look steadily at [it]” :
“ 7 The old [Mosaic] way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.
“. . . Moses. . . put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened [blinded, made dull]. . .”
Their minds were blinded by the brilliance of G-d’s glory. But their minds were additionally blinded by the veil itself, preventing their seeing the glory. The passage goes on to say, “–and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. . . 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.”
A spiritual veil covers the minds and understanding of Jews reading their own Scriptures.
This veil does not prevent Jews from knowing all kinds of truth and understanding all kinds of other things. It doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent, insightful people in other areas. But it blocks their ability to see or understand clearly expressed truth by which they could recognize their Messiah.
We have a friend who was in the presence of an Israeli General a few years ago. Every time she looked at him she thought something was wrong with her eyes. Then she wondered if it was something wrong with his eyes. There seemed to be a grayness or cloudiness covering them. As she looked more closely, it seemed to be a rectangle of fog. She realized in her spirit that she was actually seeing the veil described in those passages!
(To be continued)