Mark 10 has Jesus saying in reference to his death, "The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the Law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him." This is the first time I've noticed that the direct reference to the Gentile perpetrators. Am I just ignorant, or has this detail been ignored or minimized? --Nicole Peterson
It depends on which parts of the Bible you read. Some emphasize the Jews' guilt, others emphasize the Gentiles', while still others--like this one--show us that Jews and Gentiles worked together in the execution of Christ.
Unfortunately, some Bible readers are "anti-Semitic"; they are prejudiced against Jews and Jewishness. Others have no such bias. Yet it is hardly anti-Semitism to name the human system that opposed the ministry of Christ and condemned him to die. (Is it?) Jesus came to transform the Jewish system--and transform it he did! Naturally he encountered opposition on religious grounds. Gentile persecution was occasionally religious in nature, but far more often sprang from economic or political grounds.
The reason the Jews handed him over to the Gentiles is that they had no authority to execute: that lay in the hands of the state, which was ruled by the Roman imperial administration. In Mark 10, Jesus seems to assign at least as much responsibility for his impending capture and death to the Jewish leaders as to the Gentiles. No, I do not think the Bible writers themselves have minimized or "spun" the accounts. But certainly throughout the course of church history there has been an abundance of slanted interpretation.
This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2006. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.