Summary: We know who nailed Jesus to the cross.. but ultimately, who was to blame for His death?
The Glory of the Cross Series
“Who Killed Jesus?”
1. Illus. of Jon-Benet Ramsey
• December 26th, 1996 parents reported her missing.
• 8 hours later, her body was discovered in basement of Multi-million dollar Boulder Colorado mansion where she lived.
• Many different clues, all pointing in different directions. Parents, neighbors, even a man who claimed to have done it but was later proven to be lying.
• Several grand juries have been convened, but to this date nobody has been arrested.
• Who killed Jon-Benet Ramsey?
2. I want to ask you a similar question today from the gospel of John. Who killed Jesus? I don’t mean “who drove the spikes into His hands.” We know that the soldiers did that. I’m asking, “Who was responsible? Where do we ultimately affix the guilt for the horror of cross?
3. In John’s gospel, we find a parade of prospects. There is a little play on words that John uses in chapters 18-19. He uses a little word “paradidomai” to point his finger at those who might be responsible. It means to betray, to hand over, to give away.
4. Who killed Jesus? Lets use this word to track several suspects.
I. SUSPECT 1: WAS IT JUDAS, OUT OF GREED?
1. See John 18:2, 5.
2. What were the events that led up to this? Judas had been a long-time follower of Christ. He even held a position of leadership, carrying the money bag for the group. There is an incident recorded in the Gospel of John that reveals the heart of Judas. Jesus has come to Bethany for celebrations supper after the resurrection of Lazarus. Mary rings in a pound of perfume and begins to anoint the feet of Jesus. Judas at this point says John 12:4-5.
3. When you carefully examine the biblical records it appears that very soon after this Judas began to look for ways to recoup his losses. Eventually he goes to the priests. They barter over the price of the life of Jesus. Eventually they settle for 30 pieces of silver… the ransom price of a common slave.
4. Illus. of Benedict Arnold
• Most infamous traitor in America history.
• As a general in the Continental Army, let American forces to many victories.
• Got disillusioned because he was slighted and maligned by colleagues. Also grew heavily in debt.
• Made a deal with British. Maneuvered it around until he was put in command of West Point, and then was going to surrender it to the British. This would have been a stunning blow!
• What was the price tag for his honor? An annual pension of 360 pounds. In US money, that was about $186 dollars a year.
• He sold out his country for $186 a year!
• Perhaps the only thing worse would be to sell the Son of God for 30 filthy pieces of silver.
5. It’s not for nothing that Jesus tells us, "beware of covetousness." In pursuit of material gain men and women will stoop to deep depravity. Magistrates will pervert justice for a bride. Politicians will give contracts to the highest bidder. Spies have sunk low enough to sell their country’s dearest secrets to the enemy. Businessmen have entered into shady transactions, jeopardizing the prosperity of others in order to get a better deal for themselves. Even so-called spiritual teachers have been known to turn religion into a commercial enterprise.
6. Greed was at the center of the heart of Judas, "what are you willing to give me, and I will hand him over to you?"
7. And yet ultimately Judas is not the one who killed Jesus. He sold him out. He betrayed him. He handed him over to the Sanhedrin. And yet the unified testimony of the Gospels is that Judas is not the ultimate culprit that we seek.
8. We have to look further.
II. SUSPECT 2: WAS IT THE HIGH PRIEST, OUT OF ENVY?
1. See John 18:35, 19:11
2. Jesus had upset the Jewish establishment from the beginning. People called him a rabbi, and yet he didn’t have the proper credentials. He fraternized with the wrong sorts of people. He courted controversy with his radical teaching. He repeatedly called the Pharisees such inflammatory names as, "blind leaders of the blind" and "whitewashed tombs." And yet by far his most serious crime was popularity. The people thronged to him. They listened in rapt attention to his teachings. They even went as far as to call him Messiah!
3. He was threatening the status quo! Something had to be done! And yet... their motivations were far from pure. Matthew 27:18. The religious leaders wanted him done away with, all right. They were jealous of his success! It was out of envy that Caiaphas and his kindred handed over Jesus.