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

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