Summary: Who was responsible for the death of Christ?
Who Killed the Lamb?
1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The question of who was responsible for the death of Christ is an age-old one. The Jews have been held responsible for centuries. Even today, this is the “super-weapon” used by those who are prejudiced against Jews, such as the Arian Nation, a white supremacist group.
One day a pastor and his wife were out shopping and they stopped at a Jewish shoe store. The pastor had had many conversations with the owner before, so he knew his religious convictions. Almost immediately the owner began the conversation with, “Why don’t you preachers inform your people correctly about the crucifixion?”
Then he proceeded to tell a sad story about his little 8-year-old daughter who came home from school crying one day. Her mother said, “What’s the matter, honey?” The little girl answered, “Judy won’t play with me anymore.” “Why not” asked her mom. “Because her mom says we are Christ-killers.”
This is a sad story that’s been repeated countless times through the centuries. This leads naturally to the question, “Who really did kill Jesus?”
There’s only one place to look for the answer—the Word of God! A close examination will reveal that there were several parties involved in the crucifixion of the Son of God.
1. The Jewish Leaders of Jesus’ Time
Matt 26:59: The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.
Matt 27:25: All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"
Acts 2:22, 23: "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
Many other scriptures could be cited but surely these ought to convince anyone that the Jews of Jesus’ time had a hand in His death. But they were not alone.
2. Gentile Leaders
The means by which Jesus was executed is distinctly Roman. The Jews stoned those convicted of capital crimes. The Romans who borrowed the method form Babylon, always crucified.
Mark 15:15 says, “And so Pilate, willing to please the people…delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.”
Therefore, we must realize that Gentiles also had a part in putting Jesus to death. But again, these two groups were not alone.
3. A Disciple: Judas Iscariot
Think of it! One of a small, select, trusted band of men who were picked by Jesus Himself—men who ate and slept and walked with Jesus for three years. They watch Him heal and love and forgive. They listened to His sermons. They saw the great compassion in His eyes. They saw Him demonstrate great power over even death itself.
But one of them, having witnessed all of this, turned his back on Jesus. We read about it in Matthew 14:10: “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him.”
How could it happen? I don’t have the answer. But then I don’t know why people backslide away from God either.
Illus.: “de Vinchy’s Painting of Judas”
In Leonardo de Vichy’s famous painting, "The Last Supper" he first drew Judas with the face of his worst enemy and critic; but then unable to sleep and feeling guilty, he redrew it to portray some of his own features. An interesting insight, recognizing that the capacity to betray lies within us all Judas did it for the money, and that ought to awaken us and frighten us; because we too share that same motivation, we too struggle with greed & the love of money in our lives.