A lawyer from Kenya, Dola Indidis, has petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague suggesting that the State of Israel and Italy are responsible for the unlawful trial and crucifixion of Jesus.
According to reports, Indidis, a lawyer and former spokesman of the Kenyan Judiciary, who is also a Roman Catholic, is attempting to sue Tiberius (Roman emperor, 42 BC – 37 AD), Pontius Pilate, a selection of Jewish elders, King Herod, the Republic of Italy, and the State of Israel.
He reportedly told The Kenyan Citizen News there is recorded evidence in the Bible and the Bible cannot be discredited. Also, he is said to tell the Nairobian that his reason for filing the case is because it’s his duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and he seeks justice because his malicious prosecution violated human rights. “I am suing as a friend,” he is quoted to say. (Jerusalem Post)
While his motive seems sincere, some are concerned this could stir up the same old bitter sentiment of anti-Semitism which has led to mistreatment and murders of Jews over past centuries.
Bibles for Israel (http://www.messianicbible.com) recently sent this same news to me requesting prayer “that Indidis’ petition to the Hague does not re-ignite propaganda portraying the Jewish People as ‘Christ-killers.’ This pernicious libel has, over the centuries, been used as an excuse for anti-Semitism and the murder of countless Jews.”
Bibles for Israel cites that the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) is on record for repudiating belief in the collective guilt of the Jewish people for Jesus’ death. Also, in 1998, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a resolution that the death of Christ not be blamed on Judaism or the Jewish People.
Given the seriousness of the charges, the age-old question is raised, “Who is really guilty of the death of Jesus?” This is, indeed, a loaded question.
An examination of the scriptures reveal there are lot of guilty parties regarding Jesus’ death:
The religious leaders were, no doubt, responsible for Jesus’ persecution and death (Matthew 26:3-4). They demanded that the Roman government have Jesus put to death (Matt. 27:22-25). These various officials plotted his death for some time (John 11:47-53).
And the Romans were the ones who actually carried out his suffering and death (Matt. 27:27-37). Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, gave in to the pressure to sentence him to death, having him scourged and crucified (Matt. 27:15-26). The Roman soldiers carried out the sentence and executed him on the cross intended for criminals.
The people of Israel also complied with his death. They were the ones who cried, “Crucify him!” when he was on trial (Luke 23:21). Peter confirmed they were guilty when he boldly confronted them on the Day of Pentecost: Acts 2:22-23.
But, incredibly, the ultimate responsibility of Jesus’ death is really God himself. Peter says Christ’s death was according to “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God,” (Acts 2:23). God had a higher purpose for forsaking Christ and allowing him to suffer and die (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). While Christ’s death was a crime in terms of human motive, it was an act of reconciliation in terms of Divine motive (2 Corinthians 5:12-21). [See PS below.]
And last, but not least, we are all guilty of putting Christ on the cross. Our sin makes us guilty before God. But Jesus, who was innocent of sin, died for our sins so that we might live forever in God’s kingdom (Romans 5:1-10; 6:22-23). Our sin, in essence, put Jesus on the cross.
It is also a fact that Jesus’ suffering and death were voluntary. He did not resist or appeal all that took place in his trial, scourging, and sentencing. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and “as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth,” (Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:22-23).
Indidis does not seem to take all these factors into account. One cannot look at this whole tragedy so narrowly in the context of a crime without also considering the fact that God’s perfect will was done. Knowing that he came to fulfill God’s will (Luke 22:40), Jesus not only submitted to the Father, but asked him to “forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34). Interestingly, Indidis omits this aspect in his explanation for holding others accountable for their alleged crime.
Something else he apparently omits is that a Day is coming when all persons will stand before the judgment seat of Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” In his own time, God will balance the scales of justice which have been upset by sinful man.
On top of that, we know that Israel will repent someday and, throwing herself at the mercy of the court so to speak, the nation will be forgiven by the Righteous Judge (Jeremiah 31:31-40; Ezekiel 37:23-28; Zechariah 12:10-14; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7).
As well-intentioned as he might be, with all due respect, I believe Indidis is out of his jurisdiction as a Christian. I humbly suggest that he would be better off to leave justice up to the Lord in this case.
If Indidis did indeed desire to be a friend of Jesus it would do him better if he would proclaim God’s mercy and seek an acquittal of any charges he or anyone else has made. The Christian lawyer should take his cue from Peter who pointed to God’s mercy in this regard when the apostle not only bemoaned man’s crime of ignorance (Acts 3:13-17; 4:27) but credited God for fulfilling his plan of salvation (Acts 3:18; 4:28).
Thank God that he brought about our salvation in spite of our “crimes” of sin which put his beloved Son on the cross in the first place (Romans 4:23-5:11). Moreover, had it not been for the sacred sacrifice of Jesus, God would not have raised him from death to give us the hope of receiving eternal life (Acts 2:23-25; John 3:16). Glory be unto God!
Good News to you!
Dr. Alva G. Huffer provides excellent commentary on the tragedy and sacrifice in regard to Jesus’ crucifixion in his book, Systematic Theology, pp. 276-80 (Atlanta Bible College, McDonough, Georgia, 800-347-4261). As he states, “First of all, the crucifixion was the greatest crime of all ages. Men murdered the perfect, sinless Son of God. He was rejected by the Jews, betrayed by Judas, condemned by Herod, and crucified by the Romans under Pilate. The tragedy of Calvary is without doubt, the blackest page in the history of man. A more tragic crime cannot be imagined. On the other hand, however, the crucifixion of Christ was the most wonderful event that has ever occurred on earth. It was the most sublime moment in God’s plan of salvation.”