Summary: This message seeks to give the Biblical answer to who killed Christ. It’s part of a series of messages related to Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ.

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The cover of a recent Newsweek magazine asks the right question: “Who really killed Jesus?” This debate began about a year ago as Mel Gibson’s new film, The Passion of the Christ, hit the media’s radar screen. He immediately ran into a buzz saw of opposition from the liberal media and Jewish groups who were afraid the film would rekindle anti-Semitism.

Jesus Christ always stirs up controversy! The suffering and execution of Jesus, a man who was convicted and condemned as a pretender to the throne of Rome, unleashed a power that transformed the Roman Empire and to this day is still shaping the world.

So, who really killed Jesus? We’ve heard from the talk show hosts and guests, news reporters, even Mel Gibson Himself. But what does God have to say in His Word? The answers might surprise you.

Who really killed Jesus?

Series: The Passion of the Christ: True or False?

Texts: Selected

Talks in the coming weeks will give the biblical answers to: What crime did He commit? Did Jesus really suffer that much? Why did Jesus die? Couldn’t there have been another way? How now should we live?

If you haven’t seen the film, we’ve prepared a review for you that you may find helpful. You can pick it up in the foyer today.

Regarding the Passion of the Christ as compared to the Bible:

It is as it was.

One of the things that I’m most excited about is the fact that people who go to see this film will be reading scripture on the screen. Most of Mel Gibson’s script comes right from the Bible.

It is as it wasn’t.

The movie contains scenes that find their roots in religious tradition outside the Bible. Some of the things you see on the screen most certainly did not happen.

It is as it might have been.

The betrayal, the denial, the trial, the scourging, the nailing, the words of Jesus on the cross – it’s all there. And how Gibson chose to portray it may be as close to the biblical accounts as any film about the life of Christ.

So, before you go – to help you spot the difference between what was, what wasn’t and what might have been, read your Bible! If you’ll read just eight chapters of the Bible (Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 18-19), you’ll be ready to view this film.

Today, we will again be distributing door hanger packets. Please partner with me in this. Please partner with CVCC and with 1000s of other churches all across America. This is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of the buzz about this film. People need a context. The booklet that we are giving out will help tremendously.

The Passion of the Christ is very powerful. But it doesn’t explain and expound on why Jesus died. There are hints. But they go by quickly. The film is long on the “how,” but not so keen on the “why.” That’s where our role comes in. This is why we need to put in the hands of people some material and invite them to services where the Word of God will be taught.

We have already passed out about 10,000 but that we still have 10,000 more that need to get out. Packets for distribution will be available in the foyer after the service.

Friends, this is a time when we cannot not talk about Jesus. Unless you’re a coward. Everybody is talking about Jesus. It’s a golden opportunity. Just say, “What do you make of this movie? Mel Gibson has set us up. Let’s take the message out!

There is a world out there that needs to know what Jesus did on the cross. This movie can help them understand that.

Who’s responsible for the death of Jesus?

Judas? He’s the one who betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The disciples? After an initial defense by Peter, they ran. They abandoned Jesus.

The crowd? They yelled, “Crucify Him!’


We could spend time exploring the role all these characters played. But this morning, let’s look deeper at five possible answers to this question: Who’s responsible for the death of Jesus?

The Jews?

For nearly 2,000 years, some who called themselves Christians have blamed and even persecuted the Jewish people on the grounds that they were responsible for the death of Jesus. So, Jewish people have a legitimate concern about this film fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.

But what does the Bible say? We can’t rewrite biblical history because we’re worried about offending someone. Just a few weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus, one of His followers, Peter, stood in the Temple at Jerusalem and spoke the truth.

Men of Israel, hear these words: … this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

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