Who killed Jesus Christ?
Christianity is a great world religion that teaches God’s love and forgiveness of all people --without exception. Yet, anti-Semitism – hatred of the Jewish people -- has been a destructive, unwanted cancer that has permeated the Christian Church throughout its history. Of course, this is highly ironic because Christianity is closer to, or more indebted to Judaism, than any other religion in the world.
In one of the most significant prophecies of the Holy Bible, the prophet Isaiah foretold who is responsible for killing Jesus Christ - and what that ultimately means for every human being.
“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 us all . . . 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 . .
“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,. . . 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 53:3-12).
Who killed Jesus Christ? You did. I did. We all did.
Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be killed
Whether Jesus Christ was crucified by the Jews or the Romans is not relevant. According to Christian doctrine, had he not been killed there would be no salvation for anyone. His sacrifice was necessary to fulfill the prophecy, so someone had to do it as part of God's plan and no one can be blamed for following a divinely ordained plan.
Matt. 26:53-54: "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"
Jesus said that NO ONE killed Him. So, what killed Him? My sins and your sins killed Him. That is why He came - to die for our sins - so we could have forgiveness, and eternal life with Him in Heaven.
We are not to blame or hate any one for killing Jesus Christ. Instead, He wants to fill you with His Love, mercy and forgiveness.
Every person on earth is responsible for killing Jesus Christ
Regardless of our race or religion, we all share in the blame for the death of the perfect, righteous Son of God, the One who had no sin and did not deserve to die.
Since all humanity shares the blame for Christ's death, anti-Semitism is entirely unjustified. The beauty of His sacrifice is that all of the crimes of humanity are paid for by this spectacular act of selflessness.
It is by Christ's sacrifice that the sins of every man, woman and child who has ever lived are paid for. The only Man who ever lived a perfect life surrendered that life for Pontius Pilate, Herod, the Gentiles and all the Israelites, the Jewish people included. He died because of every sin and for every sinner before His generation and since. He died for Judas, who betrayed Him, Peter, who denied Him, the false witnesses who testified against Him, the priests who condemned Him and the Romans who tormented and executed Him. He died for all the violence, lying and hatred of the children of Israel and Gentiles alike.
All the disciples fled from Him that day. Virtually all the others who earlier had followed Him also rejected Him that day. Most people today still reject Him. Although the world remains ignorant and unbelieving, we should understand His sacrifice and be moved to understanding and faith.
Let us not forget it was the Romans that crucified Jesus
Many seem to forget that our Lord Jesus Christ was actually crucified by Roman soldiers, who used the cross, which was Rome's most degrading form of execution. In contrast, stoning was the ancient Jewish form of capital punishment.
Certain Jewish leaders probably had a hand in Jesus' death. But, the hard historical fact is that Jesus was crucified by the Roman State. And very likely, he was crucified because Pilate feared that Jesus and the crowds who followed him would, wittingly or unwittingly, set off a Jewish revolt against Rome. In fact, it was just such a revolt, which finally led to Jerusalem's destruction, forty years later.
It is only in the gospel of Matthew, that we find Pilate washing his hands and claiming innocence in Jesus' death. Pilate can try to claim such innocence. But the fact is, it was ultimately his authority and his judgment--no one else's--that sent Jesus to a Roman death.
Historians see Pilate as a ruthless and brutal figure who sometimes went out of his way to inflame the Jewish citizens under his control. They do not see Pilate as a weak figure, whose will could be easily bent and manipulated by others. Rome finally removed Pilate from office, when his soldiers killed a group of Samaritans who had gathered to follow a Man they considered to be a prophet.
“HIS BLOOD BE ON US, AND ON OUR CHILDREN!”
Some of the saddest words in our Bible are these “His blood be on us and on our children.” (Mt. 27:25) These words have been repeatedly used, down through the centuries to justify the atrocities, and even murder of people of the Jewish faith.
Down through the centuries, Jews have been unfairly accused of being "Christ killers." And terribly misguided Gentile Christians have dragged this one passage out, to justify, the so-called "inherited guilt" which they would try to pin on a whole race of people--even many centuries after the fact of Jesus' death. In their hatred they still quote these words, “HIS BLOOD BE ON US, AND ON OUR CHILDREN!”
Does a good, kind, merciful and compassionate God punish innocent children in unending generations for the guilt of their forefathers? The word of God says, “The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezek. 18:20) If God would not transfer the guilt of the father to the son even for one generation, there is absolutely no righteousness or fairness for anyone to do so for thousands of years. It is just plain cruelty beyond belief to even think that what the Jews said and did two thousand years ago is to be penalized on the Jews of today.
But as many who wanted, or were willing, to let Jesus die, there were also many other Jews of that time, who deeply mourned his death--Jewish people like: Peter, Mary Magdalene, Mary [the mother of Jesus], Lazarus, Nicodemus [a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin,] Joseph of Arimathea [a respected member of the Jewish Council who even gave up his own tomb so Jesus' body could be decently laid to rest]--not to mention many other Jews of that day.
Gentile Christian anti-Semitism has been a terrible cancer on the Body of Christ, which has re-appeared from time to time. But we, in our time, must be diligent not to accept its evil poisons or to perpetuate it. For as we know, the way of Christ, is to treat all people with love and kindness--and to that teaching there should be no exception.
“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM . . .”
While hanging on the cross our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk. 23:34) The suffering Son of Man pleaded and made intercession for those who killed Him. He asked God to forgive all the Jewish religious leaders, all the Jews who clamored that He be crucified, all who said “His blood be on us and on our children”, all the Roman politicians, all the Roman soldiers that crucified Him and everyone that had a part in killing Him. Truly, as what our Lord has said in His prayer the people did not know what they were doing. The apostle people spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem, “Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ (Acts 2:36) And again Peter said, “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did your rulers.” (Acts 3:17) Surely our heavenly Father has forgiven the deeds done in ignorance of all the people, including the Jews, who had killed Jesus.
God answered the prayers of Jesus immediately. The thief that was crucified beside Him repented of his sins and was forgiven and promised a place with Him in Paradise (Lk. 23:40-43). The Roman centurion and soldiers who witnessed the Crucifixion said, “Truly this was the Son of God (Mt.27:54). On the Day of Pentecost about three thousand Jews were convicted of their sins and were baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ. Soon many priests were converted to the Christian faith (Acts 6:7). Because we are all sinners, we all played a part in putting Jesus to death. The Gospel – the Good News – is that God is gracious. He will forgive us and give us new life through His Son Jesus Christ.
When Jesus died on the cross the New Covenant became effective (Heb. 9:15-17). “For this is the Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Heb. 8:10-12) That is what the New Covenant is all about. After His death and the beginning of the New Covenant God had fulfilled the prayer of His Son and forgave everyone that killed Him and remembered their sins no more. This is one of the most important truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do not kill Jesus Christ Again!
After our Lord Jesus Christ had ascended to Heaven “we have a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” (Heb. 8:1-2) While Jesus is in heaven His Body, that is the Church, is now on earth receiving directions and guidance from Him through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
There is only one Church even as there is only one Body (Eph. 4:4). The Lord’s Church cannot be divided but unfortunately carnal men have done just that. (1 Cor. 1:10-17; 3:1-4) To do so is to dissect the Body of Christ, which is like killing Jesus Christ all over again. When the brethren in the Church fight against one another it is tearing the Body of Christ apart. “There should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ , and members individually.” (1 Cor. 12:25-27)
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal.3:26-29)
Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed to the Father, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (Jn. 17:20-23) Let us all try to fulfill the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ by “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3)
This Article is based on the Sermon preached by Paul Wong
to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on September 1, 2001
For comments please write first to: [email protected]