Who killed Jesus?


Now there’s a question that always causes an uproar.

  • Was it the Romans?
  • Was it the Jews?
  • Was it the devil?
  • Was it God the Father?

I am always puzzled when this question is asked.  All of the historical people involved in the crucifixion have long since died.  What is it about the death of Christ that causes people to wonder who caused it?

  • Are we looking for someone to blame?
  • Do we expect divine justice to be meted out on behalf of Christ?
  • Will knowing the answer change the fact that He was crucified?

In the account of the Gospels we see several people involved the betrayal, arrest, trial, torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

  • Judas Iscariot offers to betray Jesus to the chief priests (Matthew 26:14-16)
  • Judas Iscariot betrays Jesus, leading armed men from the chief priests to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:47-56)
  • Caiaphas, the high priest, convicts Jesus of blasphemy and determines He should be executed.  However, Caiaphas does not have the authority to execute.  (Matthew 26:57-68)
  • Pontius Pilate has Jesus scourged and crucified.  (Matthew 27:11-56)

Soldiers from the Jewish and Roman governments were involved in the arrest and torture of Jesus.  Religious and governmental officials from the Jewish nation conspired with Judas, made the arrest, held a clandestine trial and brought accusations against Jesus before the Roman authority.  The Roman government carried out the crucifixion.  These are the historical facts.

I remember when the “Passion of the Christ” was released the media and many others were concerned that seeing Jesus brutally crucified would cause anti-Semitic violence and bigotry.  This worry really made me think.   Did people honestly believe that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ?  If so, were these people those who called themselves Christians or were they the same crowd who blames the Jews for everything that is wrong in the world?  The answer unfortunately was both.

It is always amazing to me how people who call themselves Christians are in many cases uninformed or misinformed as to what the scriptures say and teach.

So, theologically, who killed Jesus?  Let’s see what the scriptures say:

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;  Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone stray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul,and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53)

People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.  (Acts 2:22-24)

No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded. (John 10:18)

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.(John 6:47-51)

For all have sinned, and come short fo the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.  (1 Timothy 1:15)

So, who killed Jesus?

  • I did
  • You did
  • We all did
  • Europeans killed Jesus
  • Africans killed Jesus
  • Asians killed Jesus
  • Catholics killed Jesus
  • Jews killed Jesus
  • Muslims killed Jesus
  • Christians killed Jesus
  • Hispanics killed Jesus
  • Americans killed Jesus
  • Even Canadians killed Jesus

There is guilt enough for us all.  Is God looking for our guilt?  Is He seeking an apology?

No.

God is asking us to allow Christ’s death to mean for us that which He intended.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:7-9)

Old preachers always say, “Christ paid a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.”

So, as a fellow killer of Christ, I ask you to let His death have the impact that God intended.  Allow Jesus’ blood to pay the price for your sins and receive God’s gift of salvation through grace and faith.

When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”  (Matthew 9:12-13)

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