I may get heat for this post, but as a Christian I must stand by the doctrine that is explicitly stated in the Word of God. As I have recently read through the book of Acts, one of the things that is clear to me is that it was the Jewish people, not only the Jewish leaders, who desired that the Lord Jesus Christ be put to death and that a murderer and terrorist be released instead. And yet this is not an anti-Semitic message.
Here are two critical statements from the Apostle Peter, who himself was a Jew:
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
It is very clear in the account of Jesus’ crucifixion that the Jewish people were crying out for Him to be crucified. The Apostle Peter drove this point home in two separate sermons in the Temple, that it was the people who rejected their King, Messiah and Lord, and put an innocent Man to death while releasing a murderer and terrorist. But this is not a call to anti-Semitism. This is a call to repent and believe. This is an admonition to be humble.
Even as the Jewish people cried for Jesus to be murdered, it was the pagan Roman Empire that carried out the crucifixion. Furthermore, if the Christians sitting in church pews today think they are better than the Jews, those Christians are tragically mistaken. The Jews were God’s chosen people and were subject to an incredible amount of direct blessings and teaching from Him. We are the dirty outsiders grafted into the Tree of Life. Each and every one of us would have been screaming for our Lord to be crucified had we been there that day. More than likely, our own ancestors were actively worshiping demons.
Yes, this very clear teaching of Scripture has been used by wicked men to justify anti-Semitism, including mass murder, torture and even genocide. We should oppose anti-Semitism without apology or compromise. But the fact that the Bible has been twisted into a justification for sin does not mean that we should shy away from or (worse) outright deny the clear teaching of Scripture. Christians know that we are every bit as guilty of the worst crime in the history of the universe as any of the people screaming “Crucify Him!”