Summary: It was the sin of every individual that caused Jesus’ death, not any race of people or political agenda.
Who killed Jesus?
Isaiah 53:4 – 6
On vacation I hiked a pass overlooking the Loyalsock Creek in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It was a difficult incline that I estimate in many places to have been 60O. There was a stern warning at the head of the trail that you should not stray from the path. As I climbed, I saw why. In some places, to stray from the path was to take a tumble over a cliff, hundreds of feet down to a rocky, cold water stop at the foot of the hill.
When we can see the danger we are careful. But the path of our souls is not so easy to navigate. Isaiah says it. We have all wandered our own directions. We have all strayed. But the plunge brought on by sin that is a natural outgrowth of that wandering has been laid on the Messiah and He has paid the price.
In our judicial system, if a serial killer is found guilty and is sentenced to death, who kills him?
Different options might be considered:
The executioner doesn’t do it. We might think he does since he administers the injection, but he does not have the authority to decide who he injects and he cannot decide that a person should not be injected.
The judge can’t do it. He can only ensure that all the evidence is presented fairly and legally.
The jury doesn’t do it. They weigh the evidence and decide whether or not the person did the crime. Sometimes they also must decide whether that person fits the categories defined by the law for a particular punishment.
The prosecutor can’t do it. He can only see that the evidence against the defendant is clearly seen.
The law makers don’t decide. They don’t deal with individual defendants at all.
Even the president can save a life, but he cannot take one.
You could say that the people, the ones who elected the legislature and provided the jury are the ones to decide. But that isn’t true either, it all gets washed out when it comes to individuals.
In the end, the person to decide whether they will receive the death penalty is the criminal himself. He has access to the laws of the land and can be aware of the consequences of any action. When he kills multiple people, he is deciding that the consequences of that action are acceptable to him. He is placing himself in a category designed with complete blindness to the individual persons it may affect.
So who killed Jesus?
We should not blame the Sanhedrin too harshly. They were in a position to interpret the law, not to decide the punishment. The punishment was indicated by the law. They did not create the system. God defined the crime and named the punishment. All they could do was determine whether Jesus was guilty.
In their defense, Jesus did not defend Himself. He did not say, "Yes I am the Son of God, but allow me to prove my claim is valid." He simply affirmed and emphasized their accusation.
Are you the son of God?
Jesus, said, nobody takes my life, I lay it down. This was true in a cosmic sense, and we understand that. But it was also true in a legal sense. Let’s face it, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were both at His trial, and they believed. If Jesus had taken steps to prove His identity, others could not have helped being swayed.
But He didn’t.
Instead He subjected Himself to the law as it applied to a normal person who would say the things He said. In those circumstances, it is clear who is doing the killing:
It is God.
• He made the laws
• He designed the punishments
• and He knew all along to whom they would apply
Not only that, but Jesus’ claim that He was equal with God made Him part of the process.
He was not choosing to lay down His life that day
He had chosen to do it over a thousand years before that.
So here is the dilemma:
• Blasphemers, those who abuse and take for themselves the identity of God are worthy of death.
• By definition this cannot apply to somebody who has the natural right to assume that identity.
• Jesus had the right, but did not take steps to legally prove it.
We might think He proved it every day of His life, but when it came down to it and it really counted in a legal context, He did not do it. Why?
Isaiah tells us why
Because even though Jesus was not actually guilty of a capital crime, He knew we were and He chose to take the punishment for it.