Who Killed Jesus?

 Jamma Mokhriby


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 death.
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 spectacle.
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 Scriptures."
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 died.
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 sin."
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 rise again."
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 Gethsemane.
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 (see below).
"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.