Summary: Today, many people go to great extents to avoid responsibility for their actions. When Jesus was crucified, a great injustice was done. Who Really Killed Jesus? This sermon looks at a list of likely suspects and shows how we have much in common with them.

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Note: I preach from an expanded outline not a manuscript. Also, there is an outline for the congregation to follow along at the end of the sermon. Also I have a bibliography there.


March 28, 2004 Jay Robison Matthew 27:20-26

Have you noticed amazing lengths we go to avoid

responsibility if you caught making a mistake, doing wrong. Not, I goofed, or I’m guilty or please forgive me But an error in judgment was made Someone said "I assume responsibility for all of my actions, except the ones that aren’t my fault."

We expend a lot of time & energy trying not to be blame. We all have defense mechanisms about parent’s fault, Boss’ fault, world’s fault who ate the pie? (This was a drama just before the sermon, Mom is looking for her pie to be entered in the county fair, but it is gone, who ate the pie? No one admits to eating it but the husband, daughter son and grandmother each say they had a little piece, the point is none of them ate it, but they all did)

Maybe that is why Jesus’ crucifixion so intriguing

Great injustice is done, someone has to be at fault

We have affixed blame in a lot of places

Passion narrative is an unfolding drama, As we read about last days of Jesus’ life we are drawn in it is a humbling process to see Jesus’ cruel suffering & death

Today want to look at list of likely suspects. Who really killed Jesus? Let’s consider how we take or avoid responsibility at all costs


Throughout history these have been most likely suspects. Church leaders have misused\misinterpreted Bible to promote theological justification for Christians to hate Jews

Christians like Augustine, Chrysostom, Aquinas, and Luther, have accused all Jews as being Christ haters and Christ killers. Even today there are those who have distorted views Of story to believe Jews alone responsible. The Jewish Anti-defamation League on website Calls the Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic

Warns of hate crimes against Jews because of this movie

What does the Bible say? Mt 26:3-4 The leading priests & the older Jewish leaders had a meeting at the palace of the high priest, named Caiaphas At the meeting, they planned to set a trap to arrest Jesus

and kill him.

As story is told there were folks who set a trap to get Jesus Since he had done no wrong there had to be a trap

Certainly there were Jewish leaders who were part

Of Jesus’ demise, they were power people in society

While they were poor, people in an occupied land

Jewish religion was seen as powerful means of control

When claim was made that Jesus revolutionary bringing about an insurrection He had to be brought under control

Message here is be careful how we use words\power Vs 25 how expressed power All the people answered, “We and our children will be responsible for his death.”

NT scholar Raymond Brown A Crucified Christ in Holy Week "No line in the passion narratives has done more to embitter Jewish\Christian relations than this."

Holocaust survivor Eliezer Berkovits said “The NT is the most dangerous & Anit-Semitic tract in human history” Paul says in 1 Thess 2:14 the Jews killed Jesus

Let’s look at it, did the Jews act alone? There is more than 1 point in my sermon so there are other suspects

Matthew was a Jew would he then condemn all Jews forever That’s who he was himself, other Jews who followed Jesus I believe verse points to fact that Jesus willingly died And that he was totally rejected by his people

Are the Jews guilty? Question has to be answered Have I PLOTTED AGAINST OTHERS ? Have I misused my power? Have I been part of tearing down former spouse

Taking a part a rival, climb ladder over someone else

2nd suspects


Jews were not in political control They were an occupied land, no freedoms They could not bring about crucifixion alone

Jesus sentenced to death by the Roman governor Pilate on a charge of treason vs state Listen to Jn 19:10 Jesus before Pilate Don’t you realize I have the power to free you or to crucify you? Pilate says in effect,I’m in charge here

Pilate not King but sent as Procurator, or Governor

To keep peace in this geographical area of Roman empire. Jews brought Jesus to Pilate as leader of revolt

Lucado says Pilate looks at lone figure feet swollen & muddy, hands tan, knuckles lumpy One eye is swollen shut, other looks at the floor, arms and thighs streaked w\crimson Experience has taught him to steer clear of Jewish squabbles especially religious ones society had Hungry children, angry people, we could use a king Pilate sighs a King who could make sense out of this mess And the Angels were Silent pg 167

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