Luke 23:24 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (NKJV)
Who killed Jesus? You did. I did. The Romans. The Jews. Religion. Everyone. No one.
Recently, I heard yet another silly human documentary on “who really killed Jesus?”. The usual suspects were paraded through talking about how the Gospels aren’t reliable and the Bible was written by fallible men with religious and political agendas. Yawn. Then came the “ don’t blame the Jews, it’s an anti-Semitic conspiracy” segment. You can’t say “the Jews” killed Jesus because that’s a political conspiracy and discrimination. Yawn.
Since the movie came out, it’s a requirement to relate Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ to the “controversy”. The Pope is often quoted, who said, “it is as it was”. Well, not quite. “It is as the Catholic Church says it was” is what is accurate, agree with the Catholics or not. Mel’s movie was a film version of the Roman Catholic Twelve Stations of the Cross. Yes, there were many accurate historical details and many of the major facts were consistent with Scripture (Son of God, arrest, torture, crucifixion) but the movie was as much about Marian doctrine and Roman Catholic tradition as anything Biblical. I’ll take a whacking from my conservative brethren but I believe despite its many shortcomings and the considerable problematic issues surrounding the whole affair, God can and will use the film to further His will. I base that LOOSELY on the same princple here:
Philippians 1:18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. (NKJV;emphasis mine)
No matter what the motives or problems with the movie, the basic story that Christ was crucified for sins and rose again is shown in the movie. So I rejoice. And will continue to rejoice even though as a Bible teacher I won’t hesitate to point out where it departs from Scripture both in fact and method.
Of course you can’t have any respectable documentary on the crucifixion unless you drag out the DaVinci kooks to further cast doubt on our Lord’s sacrifice. The fact is, the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most well document, well witnessed and well evidenced historical events in all of human history.
Who killed Jesus? No one. Everyone.
Let’s take a look.
You and I Killed Jesus
Sin killed Jesus. No sin – no need for a sacrifice. You sin. I sin. One man brought sin into the world (Romans 5:12) and one Man chose to make salvation a possibility for all who accept the free gift on His terms (Romans 10:10-13). The Father laid the punishment and burden for all sin, past/present/future, on Jesus so that the penalty for every single sin was paid (1Peter 2:24). Think about that. Every murder, every perverted sexual act, every lie, every torture, every rape, every murdered baby, every sadistic act, every abuse… Jesus was punished for it, so that YOU and I would not have to be. That’s a list of some of the “bad” stuff that doesn’t include the countless trillions of lies, gossip, bad attitudes, unkindness, impatience or laziness. Have you ever stopped and thought about the unimaginable quantity of sin that was dumped on Jesus on the cross? On a Person who never sinned ONE time! Think of that. Jesus never sinned, not once. He never knew the feeling or guilt of sin but had the WHOLE of humanity’s sin from all time (creation to re-creation) laid on His spirit. No wonder the Bible says He was forsaken. Jesus never sinned once. Did we kill Jesus? You and I? GUILTY!
The Romans Killed Jesus
The government created the environment. Man’s quest for world domination and a Godless political system set the stage and put in place what would allow the death of the innocent Lamb. The Roman soldiers weren’t just following orders. They saw Jesus as nothing. They abdicated their moral obligation to protect an innocent, or at a minimum carry out the punishment without inflicting ridicule, taunting and humiliation for their own personal pleasure. The soldiers went far beyond “the call of duty” in their treatment of the Creator of the Universe.
Herod and Pilate both knew Jesus was not guilty but their political power was more important. Pilate was warned by his wife not to harm Jesus because of a dream God gave her (Matthew 19:27). Our merciful God gave every person involved plenty of chances to “do right” and choose not to be an active physical part of Jesus death. That amazes me when I think how I would feel if all this happened to one of my own children. If I knew that an entire city would torture and kill my son, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to warn them and show mercy if I knew they would reject it. I would think “you’ll get what you deserve!”. Not God or Jesus. God warned Pilate. God showed mercy. Jesus prayed for the Father to forgive everyone involved. The Romans? GUILTY!
The Jews Killed Jesus
The fickle crowds who had witnessed countless miracles clamored for Jesus crucifixion. (John 21:25). Why? The same reason mobs and the public have always been easily steered by those in power who appeal to greed, lust, class envy, pride and ignorance. The people He healed called for His death. His kinsfolk abandoned Him. His disciples denied knowing Him. Those who had sworn loyalty to Him the day before now cursed His name and disavowed any connection to Him. The Jews? GUILTY!
The Religious Leaders Killed Jesus
The Jews arrested Him. The religious leaders broke all sorts of laws. The trial was stage. They called for His death even when the Romans said Jesus did not deserve it. The Pharisees’ used political pressure to keep the Romans from protecting Jesus. There were countless opportunities to end the spectacle. They could have been satisfied with the brutal beatings and punishment Jesus received. They could have banished Him from the country. They could have put Him in prison and thrown away the key. They could have labeled Him a blasphemer, insurrectionist and convict. That wasn’t enough for the blood-thirsty, demonically inspired, religious-leader-hypocrite-vipers. They wanted blood, and they got more than they bargained for. The religious leaders? GUILTY!
Everyone Killed Jesus
The crowds called for his crucifixion. The religious leaders orchestrated it. The Romans facilitated it. Pilate and Herod allowed it. His disciples abandoned Him. Good men stood by and did nothing. Bad men enjoyed it. Your sin and mine added to the burden. Who killed Jesus? Everyone! You, me, we, us, them, humanity? ALL GUILTY!
No One Killed Jesus
The great truth is that no one killed Jesus. That doesn’t remove everyone’s guilt. Both facts are equally true. Everyone killed Jesus. No one killed Jesus.
He could have called ten thousand angels to rescue Him and destroy the world at His command. He could have snapped his fingers and put every human on a cross while He watched. He could have chosen not to die. He could have let us all go to hell and we would have deserved it. He could have chosen to exercise His divine power to avoid feeling pain or humiliation. Jesus did not have to die. He did not have to suffer. HE CHOSE TO:
John 19:10-11 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (NKJV;emphasis mine)
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (NKJV;emphasis mine)
John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (NKJV;emphasis mine)
No one killed Jesus, not really. He laid down His life. He chose to do in a way that showed how much He loved us. He did it in a such as way to show that no man forced it on Him. He did it in such a way to show that all humanity was guilty but could become guiltless through His sacrifice.
Jesus? NOT GUILTY! Because of that, we can now stand before God and be “not guilty”.
Romans 3:23-26 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (NKJV;emphasis mine)
Lord God, Help us to realize that we all killed Jesus with our sin, but that Jesus laid down His life freely, no one took it from Him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: No person is guiltless when it comes to the death of Jesus Christ. Everyone killed Him, and yet no one killed Him. Both statements are equally true. No one killed Jesus, not really. He laid down His life. He chose to do in a way that showed how much He loved us. He did it in a such as way to show that no man forced it on Him. He did it in such a way to show that all humanity was guilty but could become guiltless through His sacrifice.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?