The Trial of Jesus Christ and The Last Supper
The Blame Game
What is difficult to understand is the two thousand-year-old charge that the Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus. Only John uses the blanket term Jews to describe the multitude that called for Jesus crucifixion, and only a narrow-minded reader would conclude that an entire race was being indicted. Of course, the Jews are responsible, but so are the Romans. While the Jews (in Matthew) are perfectly willing to be held responsible, it is important to remember that Matthew was writing for a non-Jewish audience. Did the Jews really curse themselves for Jesus' death, or was Matthew attempting to solidify Christianity as a gentile religion by depicting the Jews as villains? And what of the Romans? As reluctant as Pilate appears to be, he had the power not to crucify Jesus. Caving in to the multitude in order to maintain the peace is not a defense. Besides, Jesus would only be one more Jewish threat of so many that would have to be silenced by the cruel Roman mechanism of crucifixion.
The blame-game involving the Jews begins with Matthew (His blood be on us, and on our children), but was put into motion some thirty or forty years earlier with the letters of Paul. Pauls characterization of Christianity as an essentially gentile religion began the separation of Jews and non-Jews. This is in contrast to the Apostle Peter --- and indeed Jesus himself --- who thought of the teachings of Jesus as a positive elaboration of Jewish teachings.
The details of jurisprudence are, in terms of guilt or innocence, irrelevant, since building a case for an appeal of the verdict and sentence is a pointless activity. It was a political trial, and Jesus had to be silenced in order for the High Priests to retain their political power, and for the Romans to maintain the peace. The charges of heresy (destroying the