A contentious controversy over the 2004 release of the
move "The Passion" made headlines around the world.
The controversy entailed concerns that the heavily Roman Catholic
influenced movie, which depicts the last 12 hours of the life
of Jesus before He was crucified, portrays the Jews as the killers
of Christ and would therefore invoke anti-Semitic sentiments.
Devoted Roman Catholic producer Mel Gibson staunchly denied
that this was the intended message of the film and instead wanted
it to be understood that all of humanity is guilty of Christ's
So sincerely did Mr. Gibson feel about his position it is
reported that during the crucifixion scene it is his own hands
seen driving the nails into the actor who portrayed Jesus.
There are actually a number of guilty parties that can be
listed as contributing to the death of Jesus. There was Judas,
the man Jesus called His friend, who we are told in Matthew 26:47-50
betrayed Jesus into the hands of His enemies with a kiss.
We quote, "And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas,
one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs,
came from the chief priest's and elders of the people.
Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever
I kiss, He is the One; seize Him."
Then immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings.
Rabbi!" and kissed Him.
And Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?"
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him."
Through the antichrist spirit of Judas we find in Luke 22:3-6
how Satan found a fitting vessel to occupy and carry out his
desire to kill the Son of God.
Next we turn to the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Roman
governor Pontius Pilate and to the powers they represented.
Whereas a friend's loyalty had first failed Jesus and then
the king of the powers of darkness had found his opportunity
to bring forth his most evil of plans, now Jesus would be assailed
by religion and so-called "civil" government as they
made a sham of their idealized purpose of being instruments of
mercy and justice.
The laws and codes of ethics that framed the tenants of these
two ruling institutions of the time were tossed aside and trampled
so that a guiltless man could be tortured to death in a public
The peoples which made up the blood thirsty crowd at that
time were predominantly Jewish and Roman, but before one gets
too anxious to point the finger at any individual nation of people,
we need to go to the Scriptures and investigate the charge that
because of our sins, all of humanity shares equally in the responsibility
of the death of Jesus.
This fact is clearly revealed throughout the New Testament
and is succinctly stated by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians
15:3, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I
also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the
Many are satisfied that this must be the final conclusion
as to who is responsible for the death of Jesus Christ and in
many ways they are correct, but not completely. A more accurate
statement is that our sins are the "reason" Christ
When we look at the scriptural truth as to who actually took
Jesus' life we find that by Jesus' own words in verses 17-18
of Ch. 10 in the Gospel of John, only He could bring His life
to an end. We quote, "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."
This is the same message conveyed to Pontius Pilate when Pilate
asked Jesus, "....do You not know that I have power to crucify
You, and power to release You?"
Jesus answered him in John 19:11, "...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
Jesus in fact told Pilate that he was to be used as an instrument
to accomplish His own voluntary death. The governor could send
Jesus to the cross only because God had granted Pilate this power
which he, although reluctantly, would still unmercifully decree
for personal reasons. Pilate had a pre-meditated role in the
torture and murder of Jesus.
Jesus also pointed out strongly that the one who delivered
Him into Pilate's hands would be held accountable of an even
greater sin. This fact reveals that every person who had a role
in Christ's crucifixion will be judged individually for whatever
part they had willingly chosen to play.
From the man who delighted in fashioning a crown of thorns
to drive into the skull of the Lord to those who shoved the bile
and sour wine into the face of Jesus while He hung on the cross
(Matt. 27:34), each will one day stand before Christ in judgment
if they did not seek His forgiveness before their deaths.
Individual accountability is never overlooked by God no matter
what corporate responsibility is acquired by a nation as a whole.
In Matthew 27:46 we read of where Jesus cried out from the
cross, "...My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"
The question is a rhetorical question by Jesus. No answer
is expected because He already knew the answer. The question
was presented by Him for the benefit of those surrounding the
cross and for all who would read His words down through the ages.
The words He cried out were the opening prophetic words of
Psalm 22. The Psalm goes on to detail the crucifixion of Jesus.
The horrible means of execution by crucifixion would not be
invented until a distant time in the future by the Romans. Jesus
knew all too well that it was He who was going to die this horrible
death described in Psalm 22.
In Matthew 20:18-19 Jesus directly told His twelve disciples,
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and
they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles
to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will
Again we find individual and corporate accountability for
the crucifixion. The betrayer, Judas is first pointed out, then
those who made up the assembly of chief priests and scribes as
those who delivered Jesus up to be killed and then all who are
classified as Gentiles as the actual executioners.
Jesus left the disciples with a glorious promise that after
3 days in death He would rise again. The plain truth and significance
of all that Jesus told them eluded them until after His resurrection.
As Jesus had told them before in Ch. 10 of the Gospel of John,
He would lay His life down and He would take it back up again.
He was in complete control of every facet of His death and resurrection.
Only God could make such a claim and that is in fact who Jesus
told them He was in John 14:7 when He declared, "If you
had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now
on you know Him and have seen Him." When Philip questioned
the Lord further on this issue Jesus told him plainly in verse
9, "...He who has seen Me has seen the Father..."
In Matthew 26:51-54 we are told what Jesus said to Peter after
Peter used his sword to try to defend Jesus in the Garden of
Jesus first asked Peter, "Do you think that I cannot
now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than
twelve legions of angels?"
Peter realized the answer to Jesus' question was yes. It was
in Jesus' power to stop His own death at any moment.
Jesus then revealed in a crucial question in verse 54 that
it was by the necessity of His own Divine will, revealed in the
Scriptures, that He was going to allow Himself to be crucified
when He asked, "How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled,
that it must happen thus?"
God's will, as declared in the Scriptures, would not and in
fact could not be accomplished if Christ did not offer himself
in death as the atoning sacrifice for sin. That God foreknew
men of the time would be willing and even anxious to unjustly
put Jesus to death in no way takes away from the fact that it
was God Who sacrificed His own Son.
Why would God kill His only begotten Son is the heart and
soul of all that should matter to men made in the image of God.
It is plainly stated in John 3:16-18 that it is only because
God loves us that Jesus died, "For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did
not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that
the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him
is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten
Son of God."
Jesus brought out the fact in Matt. 26:54 that the Scriptures
concerning God's plan of redemption could not be fulfilled without
Him giving up His life.
In Isaiah 52:13-15 and Ch. 53 we read of God's fulfilled intention
"Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, He shall be
exalted and extolled and be very high.
Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred
more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men;
So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their
mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see,
and what they had not heard they shall consider.
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 astray; we have turned, every
one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity
of as 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 travail 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
ut His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors,
and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
It is written from the heart of God that He "...would
make His [that is Jesus'] soul an offering for sin" and
that "He [Jesus] shall see His seed..." The seed
of Jesus are all those through the ages who would be born again
by the incorruptible seed of Christ ( I Cor. 15:38-49) when they
trusted with faith in the Lord's blood atonement upon the cross.
A seed that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for in Heaven.
What remains unwritten at this moment is your final decision
of what you will do with the knowledge that Jesus took your sins
to the cross and paid for them with His own precious blood just
because He loves you.