The context of this passage shows Pilate seeking to escape the responsibility for putting Jesus to death. Pilate believed Jesus was innocent and had not committed a crime deserving crucifixion. Matthew 27:24 notes, " So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.'"
Matthew 27:25 says, 'His blood be on us and on our children.' What does this mean? Are Jews cursed because of the killing of Christ?
In response, the Jewish crowd demanding the crucifixion of Jesus declared, "His blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25). They responded to Pilate's attempt to escape responsibility by accepting the blame upon themselves and their own children. This response showed the degree to which the Jewish crowd desired the death of Jesus. They were willing to take the blame for it, including punishment upon their own children. At this point, Pilate gave in to their demands and allowed the crucifixion to proceed.
Some interpreters believe this punishment literally did take place among the Jews. Many of them and their children were killed when Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Romans about forty years later in the year AD 70. That was essentially the end of the Jewish nation. From that time, the Jews were scattered and persecuted until the nation of Israel was restored in 1948.
However, this passage should not be construed as an ongoing curse upon the Jewish people. God's covenant with Abraham was unconditional (Genesis 12:1–3). It was not based upon the actions of the Jews, but on the faithfulness of God. God has a future for the Jews as well. The book of Revelation speaks of many Jews who will come to faith in the last days. The final chapters of the Bible (Revelation 21—22) also describe a New Jerusalem along with new heavens and a new earth. Even today, some ministries claim great evangelistic growth is taking place among the Jewish people as they recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
Rather than taking Matthew 27:25 out of context, it is best to understand its words in its original context. Those who sought the death of Jesus desired it so much they were willing to accept the consequences upon them and their children for it. This is in contrast with Pilate, who sought release from this responsibility. Both Jews and Gentiles were involved in the death of Jesus, yet Jesus died so that all people would have the opportunity to believe (John 3:16).
The early church would experience the rapid expansion of the followers of Christ, both among Jews and non-Jewish people. Paul's primary mission work was among the Gentiles, yet he testified he declared salvation to the Jews first, then the Gentiles. He wished all people to come to faith in Christ and to live for Him (Romans 1:16–17).
Who is responsible for Jesus Christ's death?
What does history tell us about Pontius Pilate?
Why do most Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah?
As God's chosen people, are Jews automatically saved?
Who can be saved?
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