I was very interested in Jean Calder's article (The Argus, March 27) but I would seriously challenge her assertion that the Gospel writers decided to talk down the role of the Romans and place responsibility upon the Jewish people for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Each of the Gospels was written at different times and by separate authors, three of whom were Jewish themselves.

Furthermore, the Gospel narratives do not show the closest disciples of Jesus in a good light.

Their ringleader, Peter, is recorded as having denied his Master under pressure and the group treasurer, Judas Iscariot, sold Jesus to the high priests for 30 pieces of silver.

The rest of the disciples forsook Jesus and fled.

Only a handful of women were found at the foot of the cross and witnessed the Resurrection. The worst of the scourging and torture were perpetrated by Roman soldiers.

There is a lovely old negro spiritual that sums up the deep significance of the Crucifixion entitled "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"

Whatever our race or religion, we have all been guilty of the sins that sent Jesus to the cross - cruelty, hypocrisy, self-seeking and racism in thought, word or deed.

Yet, as the Gospel narrative and Mel Gibson's film shows, He prayed for His enemies: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

The sufferings of Jesus were terrible but they show just how much God loved us sinful men and women in that He died for us.

This is why the Eucharist, Holy Communion, or whatever we call it in our particular tradition, is central to our worship as Christians.

It reminds us constantly that at the centre of our faith is what Jesus did for us by suffering and dying on the cross.

The other side of the story is, of course, the Resurrection, which is briefly mentioned in the film. I hope that someone will one day make a full-length sequel on that subject.

-Rev John Webster, Hove