Was God's Judgement Final?
At the trial of Jesus, provoked by their leaders to do so, an angry mob called for Jesus’ death and cried out, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” (Matt 27:25). These terrible words have fueled the belief that God rejected Israel and abandoned the Jewish people in judgment. Thankfully, this is not the case
Jesus’ remarks concerning the shedding of Zechariah’s innocent blood in Matthew 23, foreshadow the shedding of his own innocent blood which would pollute the Temple and bring about its ultimate destruction, as well as the Holy City of Jerusalem’s destruction. The rabbis also believed that the Temple and Jerusalem would be destroyed for the shedding of innocent blood. Because of the sin of bloodshed, the Tosefta reveals, “the Shekinah has departed and the Sanctuary is defiled” (t. Yoma 1:12b).
But did Jesus’ death signify that God abandoned Israel as so many insist? Absolutely not! While the Prophets did proclaim that God would punish Israel for its unbelief they also insisted that He would redeem, purify and restore Israel because of his covenant faithfulness. Matthew juxtaposes the people’s cry for Jesus’ death before his execution with the miraculous events that took place at the moment of his death. Evoking Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones (ch. 37) that would come to life (symbolizing Israel’s spiritual renewal and physical restoration), Matthew reports that the tombs opened and many “holy ones” were raised and entered the still “Holy City” (Matt 27:50-53).
This miraculous event anticipates Israel’s future purification and restoration under the LORD’s Davidic Shepherd-King (Ezekiel 34: 23-31).
God, refused to grant the request of the angry mob. And He did not curse the Jewish people because of the death of Jesus. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70CE but that is not where the story ends!