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Who Killed Jesus?

Recently, churches all over the world observed Good Friday and Easter Sunday as we celebrated the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day.

Then, Jesus appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses. Through the miracle of the resurrection, Jesus Christ conquered sin, death, and Hell and rose from the grave. And we too through faith in Jesus can conquer sin, death, and Hell and be raised to life for all eternity. PRAISE GOD!

If Jesus was raised to life, then he had to be dead. Which leads to the question, “Who killed Jesus?” This is a controversial question and has been debated for centuries. There are several key characters in the historical narrative that we can pin the blame. I have even heard pastors says that you and I are responsible for Jesus’ death, because of our sin. Well, who killed Jesus?

If we go back to the story, there are several people who could take personal responsibility for giving Jesus the death penalty and putting him on the crucifixion cross. There is Jesus’ good friend and disciple, Judas Iscariot. For 30 pieces of silver, he betrayed Jesus and turned him over to the religious leaders. There is Caiaphas, the High Priest, and the other religious leaders. They put Je-sus on trial and falsely accused him of blasphemy. They wanted Jesus dead because Jesus was a threat to their power and religious system. The religious leaders did not have the authority to issue the death penalty, so they pleaded with Pilate, the Roman Governor. Pilate did not believe Jesus was guilty of any crimes, and he saw no reason to have him crucified. He offered to release Je-sus, but the angry mob yelled, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate then turned Jesus over to the Roman Soldiers to be flogged and crucified. The Roman Soldiers whipped Jesus 39 times across his back ripping off flesh and blood. Then they tore off Jesus’ clothes, put a purple robe on him, made a crown of thorns for his head, and began to mock him. They spit on him and beat him with the staff again and again. Then they led him down the Via Dolorosa to the Hill of Golgotha, the place of the skull. The Roman Soldiers nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross and raised him between two criminals. Jesus hung on the cross for six hours that Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. And finally, Je-sus declared, “It is finished!”, and he gave up his spirit.

So, who killed Jesus? Judas Iscariot? Caiaphas and the religious leaders? Pontus Pilate? The mob who yelled, “Crucify him!”? The Roman Soldiers? Was it you and I because of our sins? Actually, the Biblical answer is God. God is the one who killed Jesus. In fact, the entire Bible is the story of God redeeming His people to Himself through His son, Jesus Christ. Romans 8:32 says, “God did not spare His son but gave him up for us all.” God is the one who gave us His son. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, says in John 10 that no one takes his life from him. He says that he lays his life down for his sheep. Jesus, God in the flesh, could have saved his own life, but he chose to lay it down for us.

Why did Jesus die? The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid the penalty for us. He bore the wrath of God for our sins. He was the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He was and is “the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).” Jesus died, so you and I could live. 1 Peter 3:18 says “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.” Let me encourage you to pray and thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross for your sins. Thank Him for dying for you, so you could be forgiven of your sins and live in Heaven for all eternity.

Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.
Phone: (770) 466-3159
Twitter: @JohnnyHowes