Summary: A sermon for seekers to help them see themselves as a guilty party in Christ’s crucifixion but also to realize the extent of God’s love for them in explaining why Christ had to die.
Introduction: WHO KILLED JESUS? Through the centuries following the crucifixion of Christ, the Jewish people have usually borne the brunt of the blame. The expression “Christ Killers” has often been employed by misguided zealots, rascists and hate-mongers. Sadly, this charge of killing Jesus has been used to justify everything from hate crimes to holocausts against the Jewish people. (adapted from John MacArthur’s book “The Murder of Jesus”)
I ask you again, Who killed Jesus? Upon whom can we cast blame, and amend this affront against the God of the Universe?
I. The Jews Reject Him-there is a sense in which both Old and New Testaments hold Israel culpable for the murder of her Messiah.
a. THE FICKLE: The Jews as a Nation Reject Him
i. Isaiah 49:10 – “…his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth…”
ii. Psalm 22:6-8 – “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”
iii. Isaiah 53: 2b-3 – “…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
iv. The Final Cry of Rejection: It’s possible that the very ones that hail him with cries of “Hosanna, Hosanna” just a few days later cry out “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
b. THE FLESHLY: The Leaders of the Jews Reject Him – The ruling counsel of the Jews conspired to kill Him.
i. Plot was hatched by Caiaphas, the high priest – “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not…Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” (John 11:49-50,53)
II. Others Reject Him-Were the Jews more guilty than others in His death?
a. THE FEEBLE-HEARTED: The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, Rejects Him – Most vivid account, given by the Apostle John, shows Pilate as caving in to Jewish pressures to put Jesus to death, because he alone had authority to do this.
b. THE FROWARD: King Herod Antipas Rejects Him –
i. The Son of Herod the Great who tried to kill Jesus as a baby
ii. The man who killed John the Baptist
iii. Mocks Jesus, stripping him, and clothes him in a royal robe, sends him again to Pilate.
***The murder of Jesus was a vast conspiracy involving Rome, Herod, the Sanhedrin, and the Jewish people. Christ’s crucifixion is the ONLY historical event where all those factions worked together to achieve a common goal.***
Acts 4:27, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together.”
III. The Guilty Parties
a. THE FICKLE: Jewish People: Were the Jews culpable of the crucifixion of Jesus?
i. Comments of Jesus upon entering Jerusalem: “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children with thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:42-44)
ii. AD 70 – Rome attacked and besieged Jerusalem and left it desolate
b. THE FLESHLY: Caiaphas – Did God hold him responsible for rejecting the Son of God?
i. Josephus recounts that Caiaphas was unable to maintain control after Jesus’ death, until he was removed from office in AD36
c. THE FEEBLE-HEARTED: Pontius Pilate
i. The historian Eusebius wrote that in AD36, Pilate was exiled to Gaul (France) and committed suicide there, in Vienne.
d. THE FROWARD: Herod Antipas
i. Herod’s own subjects were convinced that the judgments of God had fallen on Herod as in AD36 Herod’s armies were assaulted in numerous battles by Aretas and Arabian armies.
ii. He was exiled in AD39 to Lyons, in Gaul where he remained stripped of power and dignity.
***The worst crime that can be committed by a sinner against God