“The Jews as a race were no more or less blameworthy than the Gentiles.”
In fact John MacArthur quotes Acts 2:23 in which the Spirit places the greater blame on the Jews- “you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. You is the operative word, it is the Jews set over against lawless men. That both acted with evil is indisputable. The contrast made is those who have the Law and those who don’t. But this is in keeping with “to whom belong the covenants,” and who alone could sacrifice the paschal. To confuse the blame by making blameworthiness unilateral confuses the reason why Israel was chosen to bear the testimony to the nations. Israel alone had that responsibility, and Israel alone bears the responsibility for crucifying their Lord even though he was crucified by them on behalf of all men.
I know it is politically incorrect to say we worship Christ crucified by the Jews, but that is a historic reality without which there is no remission of sin. For only they were given the promise that by the shedding of blood is there remission. Ours is a historic faith with Israel the representative center of all it promises. They alone could perform the necessary sacrifice. Even in the Law, the Jews sacrificed the passover for the strangers among them. The strangers could not do that for themselves. We should pay heed, Acts 2:23 makes clear that it was by the hands of evil men that the Jews put to death the Christ, not that they joined hands in doing so. That there is the confluence of Jew and Gentile to carry out the required sacrifice doesn’t negate the fact that only Israel could offer a sacrifice acceptable. Even Saul could not offer sacrifice, to the contrary, it required a priest and so it is that Christ was delivered up by the council of Priests to the Romans, particularly, the High Priest (Hebrews 8:3), and this specific sacrifice was made according to the his council:
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. (John 11:49-52 ESV).
The Jews involvement is not coincidental, it is instrumental and required by the Law that one should die for all, for that was meaning of the Passover. And though Rome is the sacrificial knife used, they were merely a tool in Israel’s hand, just as the Jews were a tool in the hand of the Father to carry out the determinate will of God.
JM further compounds the error by stating:
This was, in essence, a corporate act of sinful humanity against God. All are guilty together.
Again, not quite. The Jews bear their own blame, the Romans their own. Outside that, we must part with the corporate guilt trip. This is the way liberals speak when they want to incriminate all for the acts of a few and justify themselves. We were not there, in fact, the vastness of humanity was not there for the most part. There were a historic people in a historic place at a historic time, who were. To conflate it is to confuse the historicity of it and undermine it. We are all guilty of sin, but we do no bear the sins of others as culpable for their acts. It is feel-good commiseration, but not the faith once and for all delivered to the saints:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3 ESV)
We do well if we hold the full council of the Word of God “in accordance with the Scriptures.” JM’s emphasis on the corporate prayer blinds him to a verse he himself has quoted. And shackles others such as: “‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’” Jesus was the victim of his friends (see Matthew 26:50 ESV).
Why, we might ask, is it so important to share this “All are guilty together” guilt for the acts of a few? We are all guilty of being sinful, and of being the reason that Christ had to be crucified. That is one thing. But to say that we were participants? There is nothing in Scripture which makes that claim and nothing could be further from the truth. To spiritualize the historic claims of the Gospel puts in danger the whole of the history, including the resurrection, of being spiritualized. No, we believe in God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ in a historic frame of reference, who was crucified by a specific people for a specific reason, according to a specific revelation, and we are better off to exalt Him who has stepped out of eternity into his creation rather than massaging our egos in such a way that we not only void the revelation but make a mockery of the historic events which have direct bearing on our salvation. For, if Jesus was not crucified by the Jews according to Scripture for our sins, then neither did he rise from the dead. And if he did not rise, our faith is in vain.