Summary: Who was ultimately responsible for Jesus going to the Cross?
"The Architect of the Cross"
I was reading through this week from Matthew chapter 21 the account of Jesus entering into Jerusalem in triumph - the event that we celebrated last week on Palm Sunday - and my attention was drawn to verse 10, where it says: "And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying ’WHO IS THIS?’. So the multitudes said, ’This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.’"
Note - "The whole city was moved". That word "moved" is a word used in other places in the New Testament to describe the shaking that takes place when there is an earthquake. The city was shaken by the entry of Jesus. All of Jerusalem said: "Who is this ?", as the multitudes with Him proclaimed His coming to the Holy City with shouts of "Hosanna to the Son of David" and "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord". A triumphal procession.
It was Sunday - the first day of the week.
BUT by the end of that week the acclamation would turn to accusation ... arrest, trial and crucifixion. His followers fled; the Prophet Zechariah had foretold, "I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered".
They’d seen Him work miracles - they’d heard Him teach with authority - they were drawn to Him - and so, no doubt, as they celebrated His coming into Jerusalem they were quite sure that He was the awaited Messiah, and that He was coming to the capital now to lead a revolution to overthrow the Roman oppressors.
But what happened? Instead of rallying support for a revolution, instead of challenging the Romans, Jesus went straight to the Temple and challenged the Jewish leaders. NOT a good political move - NOT a good start to the revolution. The multitude was still with Him at this stage, but He clearly wasn’t doing what was expected of the Messiah.
Jesus then went outside Jerusalem to Bethany where He stayed while He taught on the Mount of Olives. He returned on Thursday to eat the Last Supper with His disciples. But all week the Jewish leaders had been scheming and lobbying the city against Him. In the middle of the night He was arrested by the mob in the Garden of Gethsemane, dragged before Annas the High Priest, then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. All this examining and cross-examining took place through the early hours of the morning (Jesus hadn’t slept for at least 24 hours). Then, when they felt it was a reasonable enough hour of the morning, Jesus was brought to Pontius Pilate (the Roman Governor) for his rubber stamp approval on what the Jewish leaders had determined should happen. The accusations they made before Pilate were that Jesus was plotting against Rome - treason punishable by death. Pilate was reluctant - he could smell a rat. He said: "I find no fault in this man". But finally he relented to appease the locals, and crucifixion was ordered. By late afternoon Jesus was dead.
WHO was responsible for Jesus dying on the Cross?
The Romans? Pontius Pilate? The Jewish mob? Herod? Judas Iscariot? Was it Satan himself?
Perhaps you say it was US!? All of sinful mankind - for if it weren’t for our sin He would not have needed to die. That’s right.