Summary: On Pentecost when Peter accused those in his audience of being guilty of crucifying Jesus he was accusing not only to them but also to us.
This Jesus Whom You Crucified
“On a sunny day in September, 1972, a stern-faced, plainly dressed man could be seen standing still on a street corner in the busy Chicago Loop. As pedestrians hurried by on their way to lunch or business, he would solemnly lift his right arm, and point to the person nearest him, intone loudly the single word ‘GUILTY!’ Then, without any change of expression, he would resume his still stance for a few moments before repeating the gesture. Then, again, the inexorable raising of his arm, the pointing, and the solemn pronouncement of the one word ‘GUILTY!’ The effect of this strange pantomime on the passing strangers was extraordinary, almost eerie. They would stare at him, hesitate, look away, look, at each other, and then at him again; then hurriedly continue on their ways. One man, turning to another exclaimed, ’But how did he know?’” (What ever became of sin? Karl Menninger)
Almost 2000 years ago, another man stood before a crowd and essentially said the same thing, GUILTY! In Acts 2:23-36 Peter was talking to the crowd on the day of Pentecost when he leveled this charge against them, “this Jesus whom you crucified.” Was Peter’s accusation justified? Were all the people in his audience guilty of crucifying Jesus? Who crucified the Son of God? Matthew records (27:27-36) that the Roman soldiers were the ones who actually executed Jesus, but are they the only ones guilty of this terrible act? Let’s see.
I. The Jewish leadership was guilty.
The Jewish leaders were in constant conflict with Jesus and time and again sought ways to kill him and eventually succeeded in having him crucified.
John 5:18 . . . “The Jews were seeking all the more to kill him.”
7:1 . . . “The Jews were seeking to kill him.”
8:59 . . . “The picked up stones to throw at him.” (After Jesus claimed to be greater than Abraham.
10:31 . . . “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.”
Why did they hate Jesus so?
A. Jesus exposed them for putting their traditions above obedience to the Law (Matt. 15: 1-9). “Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradidion? (Vs. 3)
B. Jesus rejected their challenges to his authority (Matt. 21:23-27). “By what authority do you do these things?” (When Jesus entered the temple.)
C. They were jealous of Jesus’ popularity with the people (Matt. 27:18). (Pilate) “Knew that it was out of envy that they (Pharisees) had delivered him up.”
D. Jesus exposed their hypocrisy. (Matt. 23:1-36) Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” (Vs. 13, 23, 29)
1. They did not practice what they preached (Matt. 23:3). “So practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do. For they preach but do not practice.”
2. They were religious show-offs (Matt. 23:5). “They do all their deeds to be seen by others.”
3. They were roadblocks to the kingdom (Matt. 23:13). ". . . you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
4. They made Jewish converts into legalistic Pharisees (Matt. 23:15). For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
5. They were spiritually blind (Matt. 23:16-17). “You blind guides . . . you blind fools.”
6. They had distorted spiritual values (Matt. 23:23-24). “For you tithe mint and dill and cumin but neglect the weightier matters of the law. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.”
7. They had an outward righteousness only (Matt. 23:25-28). “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. ” (Vs. 27-28)
8. They were like their forefathers who murdered the prophets (Matt. 23:29- 36). “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.” (Vs. 29-31)
II. The Jewish leaders who believed were guilty.
Even those Jewish leaders who believed in Jesus, did not defend him because they feared criticism from their fellow leaders and loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
(John 12:42-43) “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”