Summary: When Jesus was condemned did He deserve to die? Was His death necessary?

OPEN: A few years ago, a lawyer from Kenya named Dola Indidis filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice at the Hague (also called the ICJ). His goal? To overturn the conviction and death sentence of Jesus Christ. He said “I filed the case because it’s my duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and I have gone to the ICJ to seek justice for the man from Nazareth” (

Now, this could all be a publicity stunt… but it does raise the question: If he could get this legal challenge heard by the ICJ, is it possible that the court could find Jesus Guilty? Did He deserve to die? Was His death even necessary? And if it wasn’t necessary… should we seek justice for Jesus?

Well… let’s take those questions one at a time. 1st - Was Jesus guilty? And the answer (of course) is… “NO!”. Speaking about Jesus, Peter wrote: He committed NO SIN, neither was deceit found in his mouth. (1 Peter 2:22); The Apostle John tells us You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is NO SIN. 1 John 3:5; After betraying Jesus, Judas admitted "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood" Matthew 27:4; Seeing how Jesus died, “The centurion (at the cross) … praised God, saying, “Certainly, this man was innocent!" Luke 23:47; And even Pilate declared: “… I find no guilt in him." John 19:4.

The books of the New Testament are unanimous, declaring that Jesus was innocent; He was without sin; there was no guilt in Him. Now, why’s that important? Well, Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death”, so if Jesus had sinned, then He would have DESERVED death, because the wages of sin is death. Thus, He could not have died in our place - He would have died simply because He had sinned.

But in fact, Jesus had NOT sinned, because if He had sinned - if He had not been NOT been innocent, if He’d NOT been blameless - then He couldn’t have become our substitute. He couldn’t have died in our place.

You see the repeated teaching throughout the Old Testament was: A sacrifice (a lamb, a bull, or a goat) had to be without a single blemish or a broken bone. In fact, if a priest cut open the lamb/bull/goat and found that the liver was diseased… that sacrifice was rejected. An imperfect, diseased or stained offering for sin was useless. That’s why 1 Peter 1:18–19 tells us that “it is not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed . . . but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”. No other sacrifice was acceptable.

Only a perfect, sinless sacrifice would cover our sins. The Apostle Paul wrote that God “made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, SO THAT in (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” II Corinthians 5:21

If Jesus had NOT been sinless, then we would NOT have been made “RIGHT” because we would not have become RIGHT-EOUS.

Now, why do I tell you that? Why stress that Jesus was sinless? Well, because not every person who calls themselves a Christian believes that Jesus was sinless. According to a survey in 2004 (Tyndale Publishing) approximately 52% of the “Christians” they interviewed, either believed that Jesus had SINNED, or weren't sure if He hadn't. In other words: more than half of those who claimed to be a Christian had trouble believing Jesus was not a sinner! Now if you’re going to depend upon the blood of Jesus to save you… YOU CAN’T DO THAT! You MUST believe that Jesus was sinless, because if He sinned He couldn’t have died for you! So Jesus was without guilt and He didn’t deserve to die!!! (PAUSE)

But He did! Jesus died! Seven hundred years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem it was prophesied by Isaiah that the Messiah would suffer and die for YOUR sins… and MINE. He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities (Is 53:5); He was cut off out of the land of the living – He would die! … (Is 53:8); He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors.” (Is 53:12)

Jesus died in bad company (in the presence of sinners) so that WE (also being bad company) could be forgiven our sins. The question is” why did He have to die in bad company? Why does it say He was to be “numbered with the transgressors? Isaiah 53:12 says “… he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors.”

Well, the answer is found in the 2nd half of that verse: (vs. 12). “He was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the TRANSGRESSORS.” What’s a TRANSGRESSOR? A transgressor is someone who has transgressed (or violated) the Law of God. That would be US!

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