Summary: "Mel Gibson’s powerful new movie, ’The Passion of the Christ’ is reviving one of the most explosive questions ever. Who really killed Jesus?" Regardless of personal sentiments, the Bible is the final authority in answering the question.
WHO KILLED CHRIST?
Newsweek’s John Meacham wrote in his column, "Mel Gibson’s powerful but troubling new movie, ’The Passion of the Christ,’ is reviving one of the most explosive questions ever… Who really killed Jesus?" The question as to who killed Christ has been discussed on numerous radio and television shows. On MSNBC’s "Deborah Norville Tonight" a United Methodist minister, a Jewish rabbi, and the Morris Chapman, head of the SBC’s executive committee debated the issue. Regardless of personal sentiments, the Bible is the final authority in answering the question and is clear as to who those were in killing Christ.
I. The Jews Killed Christ.
A. Acts 2:22-23 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, YOU have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
B. Matthew 27:21-23 MKJV The governor answered and said to them, which of the two do you desire that I release to you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate said to them, ’What then shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?’ They ALL said to him, ’Let Him be crucified.’ And the governor said, ’Why? What evil has He done?’ But they cried out the more, saying, ‘Let Him be crucified!’
C. John 19:31 MKJV Then the Jews, because it was Preparation, begged Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath. For that Sabbath was a high day.
D. The Jews wanted His legs broken, which was prevented by the providence of God, in order to hasten His death. They wanted to make sure He was dead; that it could not be pretended that he had swooned away and revived, and so, therefore, that there could not be the least doubt of his resurrection to life.
E. Jesus was hated by the Jews because He stood in opposition to their religious tradition and self righteousness.
F. John 5:16 And therefore the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day.
G. From the time He was a mere infant until His death, our Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ, was hated by the Jews.
H. John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
I. Jesus Christ flew in the face of the religious traditions and secular lifestyles of the people of Israel. The Jews hated Jesus for exposing the hypocrisy of their self-styled religious system. John 15:22 MKJV If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.
J. Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not.
K. Man rejects Christ today for the same reason that the Jews hated Christ and cried for His crucifixion. Man wants to do his own thing, his own way, in his own time. He wants to believe that his religiosity will get him to heaven and that he is okay. He does not want to be reminded that he is a sinner.
TRANSITION: At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the Romans had conquered all the area in which Jesus lived and taught. The Romans allowed the Jews to continue with their Sanhedrin, their religious government, but the Romans took away the Jews right to carryout capital punishment. In order to have Jesus crucified, the Jewish leaders had to get Rome to execute Christ.
II. The Romans Killed Christ
A. Matthew 27:27-31 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
B. It was Roman soldiers acting upon the orders of the Roman governor Pilate that mercilessly beat Jesus and led Him to Calvary’s hill. It was the hand of a Roman soldier that fastened the hands and feet of Christ by heavy, square wrought-iron nails to the cross. After having driven the nails deeply in the wood, it was Roman soldiers that elevated the cross with the agonizing Savior on it, and, in order to fix it more firmly in the earth, let it fall violently into the hole which they had dug to receive it. According to John 19:34 it was a Roman soldier who thrust the spear through Christ’s side.