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Who Killed Jesus?

What a big question! Like an Agatha Christie murder mystery, many individuals were to blame. Firstly, there was the Jewish ruling religious elite. They conspired against Jesus after the Lord rebuked them for their illegal money exchange and charging exorbitant prices for sacrificial lambs. They were also the ones who sent the Temple guard to arrest Jesus on trumped-up charges of blasphemy:

The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were also involved as they assembled at the palace of the High Priest, Caiphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him (Matthew 26:4).

What about the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate? When the religious leaders pronounced a guilty verdict on Jesus in their court proceedings, even though their witnesses disagreed with their testimony, they handed Christ over to Pilate, who had the power to release or crucify Jesus. Pilate said to Jesus:

Do you not know that I have power to crucify you and power to release you (John 19:10).

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!"(Matthew 27:24).

Then there was Judas, the traitor, and thief. He was also guilty and deserving of blame. As the disciples’ treasurer, Judas had been stealing money out of the moneybag. When a woman anointed Jesus with her costly ointment, Judas was unhappy at the act of devotion and saw the cost of the ointment as something that had slipped through his thieving hands. When Jesus praised the woman for the beautiful action the woman had done, Judas didn't like it and went and sold his master for thirty silver coins, the price paid for a slave (Exodus 21:32).

What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you? So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:15-16).

Who else was to blame for the death of Jesus? What about the dark unseen ruling spirits manipulating people on the planet for their evil ends?

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Of course, when these unseen evil spirits used Judas, Pilate, and the religious elite, they did not realize the magnitude of the damage that Christ crucified as a substitute for sin would bring to Satan and his ruling evil angels and demons.

We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

Each of the above mentioned is to blame and will be brought to justice in the age to come when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom. But also, we sinful human beings are each to blame for our sin. God placed a penalty on the rebellion against Him in the Garden of Eden. Death would be a consequence of sin, not just physical death but also spiritual death, separation from God. For the reason of our sin, Jesus deliberately allowed Himself to be crucified. It was His life for your life. God came in the person of Christ to be the Substitute for you and me and all those who would accept the terms of the New Covenant of God (Jeremiah 31:31). He would give new life to all who receive His death in payment for their sin. The unseen evil spirits did not realize that God would use His Son's death as a means of deliverance for you and me from our sins:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

What about you? Will you accept the gift of salvation and eternal life that Christ offers you? Merely tell Him, wherever you are right now, Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in my place for me. I receive you into my life to cleanse me from all my sin. Forgive me for my sin, Lord Jesus; I want to live for you. Amen. If you sincerely meant that prayer, there is joy in heaven (Luke 15:10). Keith Thomas


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