Mel Gibson's latest film, The Passion, has fallen into the center of controversy, once again raising the question, "Who killed Jesus?" The answer is as close as the Bible on your bookshelf...and it just may surprise you.

 

As a teacher of Old Testament theology, I was seeking the knowledge and wisdom of a rabbi as I did some online research. Finding one who would openly talk to this "stranger"/Christian, however, was difficult. Then, a kind rabbi agreed to answer my questions about Old Testament traditions as seen through the eyes of a modern-day Jew. In time, we became "online buddies," seeking each other's counsel, opinions, and overall friendship. We talked about our families-both having teenaged children-and when we weren't discussing those things, we spoke of our mutual love for God. Then, one afternoon as we "chatted," he asked a question of me I'd never expected to hear anyone ask. "Eva Marie," he wrote. "Do you believe I killed Jesus?"

 

Who Was The Man Called Jesus?

 

There is no denying that a man named Jesus walked the earth. He was born in Bethlehem, Israel, was raised-for the most part-in Nazareth by his mother Mary and foster father Joseph. He grew into his father's occupation-that of carpenter-until he reached about 30 years of age. Then He took on His Heavenly Father's calling as He stepped into His ministry as the Son of God.

 

Nearing three-and-a-half years later, He was crucified upon a Roman Cross on a hill known as Golgotha-the Skull-just outside the city gates of Jerusalem. He was laid in a borrowed tomb and when, three days later "the women" came to tend to His body, they found it "missing." He later appeared alive and well to those who were His closest companions and, over time, some 500 people reported seeing Him in the days that followed. After His ascension into Heaven, a new "religion," Christianity, was birthed in the very city where He'd died. The first members of the church were a rag-tag group of Jews.*

 

If you are a Christian, you believe that Jesus was more than a carpenter with a hankering for stirring up trouble. Jesus was and is and evermore shall be...God. As a part of the Godhead, he is Elohim, God the Creator. He is the Creator of all life and the ruler of both life and death.

 

Arise!

 

A ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region. ~~Matthew 9:18b, 19, 23-16

 

 

Most of us know the story of Jairus's daughter and we are all familiar with the story of Lazarus of Bethany. While Jesus was in another town, His dear friend Lazarus-brother to Martha and Mary-died. When Jesus returned to Bethany, he found the people filled with grief at their loved one's death. Jesus asked to be taken to the tomb where Lazarus was buried...and He wept. Then he prayed: