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Friday, April 19, 2019

Who Killed Jesus?

For a long, long time the question of who killed Jesus was a serious issue. It was one of the leading causes of the rift between the original people of God -- the Jews -- and the adopted people of God -- Christians. Who killed Jesus? The Jews. And in many claiming the name of Christ (who was a Jew) this fact produced hatred for the Jews, pure and simple anti-Semitism of the worst kind. But ... did they? Well, in fact, they didn't actually have the authority to do so. They were begging Pilate to do it because they couldn't. While it is true that the Jews asked for it and even pushed him into it -- they actually claimed responsibility (Matt 27:22) -- any thinking person familiar with the story would have to say that the truth is that the Jews did not kill Jesus. The Romans did (Acts 2:23).

Okay, so the Romans did it. This is true. It was their tree, their hammer, their nails, their soldiers who did it all. No Jew pounded those spikes into our Savior's hands and feet. That was the Romans. The Jews pressed for it, but it was ultimately the Romans that did the deed.

If you consider, however, the reason for the murder of the Son of God, you'd have to admit that it wasn't the Jews or the Romans underlying this. The Bible tells us "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3), that He "died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). There are voices out there that assure us that Jesus did not die for our sins. It was a morality display or something like that. But Scripture says otherwise. Scripture says that we killed Jesus. He "humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:8) in order that "we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." (Rom 5:9) Who killed Jesus? We did, with every sin, with every shake of our fist in the face of God, with every refusal to submit. Without us, that death would have been unnecessary.

But don't stop there. Think it through to the end. We all agree that God loved the world in this particular way: "He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Scripture claims that the Jews and the Romans executed Jesus according to God's predetermined plan (Acts 4:27-28). This execution was God's idea (Acts 2:23). Just in stark physical realities, if "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3), then Jesus made the man that drove in the nails and the tree on which He was crucified. Who killed Jesus? Ultimately God -- Father and Son -- did it.

The Jews did it by pushing it through and the Romans carried it out. The whole thing occurred solely because of our sin. At the bottom, though, is God who made us not because we're so necessary or wonderful but because He wanted to and planned before time to carry out this Creation/Fall/Redemption course of action so that He would be most glorified. We have a lot that we are guilty of when it comes to sin. We have much, much more to be grateful for when it comes to salvation. That is a gift from God (Eph 2:8). It is what we celebrate at His Resurrection.

1 comment:

David said...

It's almost like God was the first cause of Christ's death. They should make a term for that.