Summary: Whois to blame for the death of Jesus? Was it the Jews, the Romans or Pilate? The answer may shock you.
Who Killed Jesus
In the early hours of the morning in Chicago, Illinois, way back in 1910 Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Hiller were lying in bed when Mrs. Hiller sensed something was wrong. She awoke to see that the gas light outside their bedroom door was out. She woke her husband and asked him to go investigate. Unfortunately, Mr. Hiller never got the chance to fix the night light. While he was out in the hall, he encountered a burglar and struggled with him at the top of the stairs. Several shots rang out, and Mr. Hiller ended up being shot twice… and died within moments. The burglar fled into the night. But, later during the early hours of the morning, local police questioned a parolee named Thomas Jennings. Jennings was injured, had a loaded gun, and was on parole for a previous burglary. That alone would have made him a suspect in 1910, but something else confirmed the fact that he had been in the Hiller home that night and was indeed the killer.
In 1904, Scotland Yard had brought an exhibit to the St. Louis World’s Fair. They demonstrated a new science to identify criminals long after they left the scene of the crime called fingerprinting.
American police officers were so intrigued that Scotland Yard began training many in law enforcement field on how to find and match fingerprints left at the scene of a crime with those of suspects. Thomas Jennings had the singular honor of being the first killer to be convicted by the use of evidence from the use this new science. Unfortunately for him, a railing outside the home had just been painted the day before… and he left a clear imprint in the still drying paint.
In Law Enforcement, if someone’s fingerprints are found at the scene of the crime police will detain them as “persons of interest”. This is a polite way of saying: the police think they did it!
When it comes to the death of Christ on the cross there are several “Persons of Interest” who may be said to be “suspects” in the crime. The question we want to answer this morning is who is it that killed Jesus? If we were to take modern day methods of investigation whose names would come up as suspects for the crime.
Following World War II the Unites States along with the other allied nations rounded up some of the key leaders from among Germany’s Nazi party. They wanted to hold someone responsible for the great crimes that took place. Many of them were charged with crimes against humanity for their roles in the Nazi death camps that put to death over 6 million people. They held those trials in Nuremburg, and many of those people were put to death for their part in “crimes against humanity”. I don’t suggest we round up those responsible for the death of Jesus and wage massive executions for crimes against humanity, but I do suggest we look to see where the blame might fall.
For us the death of Jesus is one of the most significant events in all of history. It is as the Bible says through the death of one man that life was brought to all of us. Perhaps for us living today when we read of the death of Jesus it is one of those bitter sweet things. It is bitter because we know he did not deserve to die. When you read the Gospel accounts you can’t help, but to root for Jesus. It is sweet because His death was for the forgiveness of our sins.
Let us take a journey back in time about 2,000 years to the area of Palestine. Who is it that is responsible for the death of Jesus.
I. Pilate and the Romans Did
One of the suspects in the crucifixion of Jesus would be Pontius Pilate and the Romans. It was the Romans who held control over the area of Palestine during Jesus’ life. Crucifixion was a Roman method of execution and not a Jewish method of execution. It was Pilate who gave into the crowds and allowed Jesus to be crucified. Certainly the Romans are to be guilty of some of the blood that was shed. Why did the Romans hate Jesus so much? I believe there were many reasons they hated Jesus.
1. He Preached Against Immorality
It is no secret that the first century Roman world was very immoral. You may remember that John the Baptist was killed because he preached against an act of immorality taking place in Herod’s household. Jesus came onto the scene and he preached against immorality. Pilate and the Romans may have seen Jesus as threat to their society and their way of life. Certainly, Jesus would have been troubled at some of the things he would have seen throughout the world. He called people to live a holy lifestyle. He, like John the Immerser preached a message calling people to repent of their wickedness.