As the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus draws near my thoughts are turned towards those three days that changed history and eternity for everyone.
The events leading up to the crucifixion deserve our attention and there is much to be gained by understanding the motive and agenda of everyone involved that led to that hill on Calvary on the day of Passover.
Who killed Jesus?
There are many characters who walk across the stage of this event planned and directed by God before time began. But there are two groups and two individuals who are the primary suspects as we seek to understand who killed Jesus.
Greed, religion, and politics have caused more death and upheaval in this world from that time to now. In the events leading up to His death we find all three present with our suspects.
Judas was motivated by greed. He was the one to protest Mary’s use of expensive perfume to bathe Jesus feet and John provides the additional detail that Judas helped himself to the money bag that he was in charge of as Jesus’s treasurer. (John 12:6)
Judas possibly also had a political motive expecting Jesus to use his power and miracles to overthrow the hated Roman government.
The religious order the scribes the Pharisees the Sadducees certainly had a political and religious motive. Jesus was basically exposing them for who they were and in the process showing them up with real power and authority.
It is noteworthy that Herod who felt threatened by the king he had been told would soon be born went to the scribes to inquire as to where this promised king would be born. Searching Old Testament prophecies they found it would be Bethlehem. When the prophecy was fulfilled along with many other prophecies the scribes would surely be familiar with how could they have missed Jesus as the expected Messiah?
Pilate had political motive to allow the death of Jesus although he did not at first go along with it.
He found Jesus guilty of no crime and even after being warned by his wife to have nothing to do with this
“innocent man” caved to the pressure brought by the religious order fearing reprecussions from his bosses if he couldn’t keep things under control.
This group had more reason to be suspects than any of the others.
Because they were the reason Jesus said He came to die.
Who killed Jesus?
You and I.
Whether we leave him on the cross and write it off as a fable a myth or failed experiment, or celebrate Him risen from the dead His purpose for coming cannot be denied.
He came to die.
Willingly laying down His life for you and I.
Judas had a part in it, the religious order had a part, as did Pilate but in the end it was you and I. And everyone who has lived and died since the garden.
There are lessons and hope in this story. The lesson is no matter where you are or what you have done you can change your mind, change direction.
Judas could have,
The religious leaders could have (some did),
Pilate could have. The consequences of rejecting Jesus were severe.
Judas hung himself.
The beautiful temple revered by the Pharisees was reduced to rubble. Just as Jesus predicted it would be.
A few years later Pilate was relieved of his duties, transferred into oblivion, sent away in disgrace.
The hope- When we ask “who killed Jesus?” The answer is all of us. But in this story Jesus was no victim, and the perpetrators have a chance for full pardon and the opportunity to receive everything Jesus died for.