Last night I watched Woody Allen’s film, Crimes and Misdemeanours. A rich Jewish professional man has an affair with woman. The woman threatens to confront the man’s wife unless he leaves her. His rabbi suggests making a clean breast of it to his wife whereas the man's brother offers to use his criminal contacts to make the problem disappear. The man opts for the latter but is then overcome by remorse and remembers his religious upbringing when he was told that the eyes of God are everywhere. The police only make cursory enquiries and the man hides behind his professional respectability. The police believe his innocence. He literally gets away with murder.
Woody Allen presents us with a bitter irony which is a constant theme in the Psalms. The wicked often go unpunished.
Although the Jewish religion is probably most akin to the Christian religion we see in this instance in the film Judaism’s limitations. It offers a moral framework but not a solution to those who sidestep this framework.
In Christ however is the solution. The guilt is taken on His shoulders. The crime does not go unpunished but the solution is beyond our understanding- an innocent man is punished instead of the criminal. As the thief on the cross observes, the wicked deserve their punishment. Only the killing of the unblemished lamb of Christ brings complete atonement.
The man does not turn himself in. He has too much to lose in the sumptuous life he clings to. He manages to find a way to live with himself.