By Susan Perlman
Jews for Jesus
"So how can anyone be blamed for the death of a person who is in fact alive?" -- Susan Perlman
CBN.com – Dear Mel (is it OK if I call you Mel?),
I hope you won't feel like this letter is an intrusion, but with all the flack you are experiencing right now over "The Passion," I just had to write. This ordeal has to be tough for you to take. All the controversy, I mean. But then you're probably not completely surprised. Anytime anyone makes a statement about Y'shua (Jesus) they stir up a controversy. When he walked the earth, no one could take him lightly. Some were attracted to him and not only believed him but loved him as a best friend. Others were suspicious and all they could let themselves feel was fear or hatred--and if his statements were untrue, who could blame them? After all, Jesus did make some incredible (some might say outlandish) claims:
He claimed to be the Messiah:
See his conversation with a woman: "The woman said, 'I know that Messiah' (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.' Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he" (John 4:25,26).
He claimed he could forgive people of their sins:
See his conversation with a paralyzed man: "Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you" (Matthew 9:2).
He claimed he had the same eternal nature and name as the Almighty:
See his conversation with Jewish leaders: "Then the Jewish leaders said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:57-8).
Whether or not people believed his claims, Jesus just said and did the things we might expect the Messiah to say and do. That did cause an uproar, ultimately leading to his crucifixion. Which brings me back to your movie. Maybe you didn't expect quite such an uproar for just making this film. Maybe you thought that people wouldn't get all that upset. Please try to understand. It's just that over the years, many so-called "Christians" have blamed my Jewish people for Jesus' death. The hatred and persecution we've endured as a result is tragic, and that's made some Jews very defensive when it comes to the subject of the Passion. As a committed believer in Jesus, I'm sure you recognize that such hatred is the antithesis of what the New Testament teaches, what Jesus intended and what your film portrays. Am I not right? Besides, you and I both know that this "blame game" really misses the point.
After all, the Hebrew Scriptures predicted that the Messiah would die for the sins of others.
"He was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due" (Isaiah 53:8).
Not only that, but the crucifixion didn't take Jesus by surprise--it was the whole reason God sent him on this necessary but horrific mission.
"No one takes it (my life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." (John 10:18) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Most importantly, Jesus did not stay dead.
"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him" (Mark 16:6).
So how can anyone be blamed for the death of a person who is in fact alive? Messiah's willing sacrifice and resurrection bring hope to a world that is desperately in need of some good news. Jesus stands ready to be our helper and redeemer and friend! Not everyone wants to hear that. Maybe they've never read the records of his life for themselves. Or maybe they've heard things about Jesus that are wrong. Whatever the case, I just want to tell you to hang in there, Mel. There are lots of us Jewish people who are grateful that you made this film. Because of "The Passion," this important topic is being discussed passionately--and that's a good thing.
A Jew for Jesus