Who killed Jesus?
There have been many interpretations concerning the Death of Jesus of Nazareth on the Cross at Calvary.
There are those that maintain that it was the Jews that killed Him. There are those that say it was Pontius Pilate.
Some say, it was the Romans.
Some say it was us ourselves that sent Him to die on the cross because of our sin and others believe it was Judas Iscariot because he betrayed Jesus.
So, who did kill Jesus?
Was it the Jews?
Peter on the day of Pentecost preached this, to the Jews.
Act 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words;
Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
This seems to suggest that it was indeed the Jews that killed Jesus.
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The word used here in Greek is (Anaireo). Whilst it can mean kill it also means (to take up, to lift up (from the ground)
If Peter was saying that it was the Jews who killed Jesus, he would more likely have used the Greek word, (Kill apokteino "to kill)," (Kill phoneuo "to murder,)"( Kill thanatoo "to put to death)" (Kill sphazo or sphatto "to slay, to slaughter,)
However the word used here by Peter is (Anaireo). to take up, to lift up (from the ground).
There is no doubt that Peter was attributing Jesus death to the Jews here but did they actually kill Him?
Stephen, disputing with the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, said this,
Act 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Stephen is saying here, that the Jews certainly were party to the death of Jesus by using the word (Kill phoneuo "to murder)
So also, Stephen is pointing out that they were responsible for the death of Jesus.
In Mathews Gospel, the Jews said, “His blood be on us”.
Matt 27:24 When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but that instead a riot was breaking out, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “You shall bear the responsibility.”
25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
So, Whilst the Jews wished Jesus dead and participated in His arrest calling for His crucifixion and accepted the responsibility for His crucifixion, the Jews did not actually kill Him.
Was it Judas Iscariot?
Judas certainly betrayed Jesus.
Jesus knew who would betray him.
Jesus said: "I know those I have chosen." He knew all his disciples through and through. When Jesus quoted Psalm43v9: He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me; he said that this didn't apply to all the disciples but just the one.
Jesus said, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish."
It is possible that Judas was laying on Jesus' left at the head of the table. He was close enough to reach for the sop Jesus handed to him. Perhaps as he took the piece of bread soaked in sauce he asked in a low voice as reported by Matthew: Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus whispered: "Yes it is you." Mt26v25. Jesus then looked at Judas and said, "What you are about to do, do quickly." v27.
Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.
4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.
5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
So we know that Judas betrayed Jesus but we also know that even though Judas was party to the death of Christ, he did not actually kill Jesus. In fact, Judas declared that Jesus was actually innocent (Matt 27:3-4)
Was it Pontius Pilate?
The case against Pilate is that he found Jesus not guilty, but had him executed in order to keep the peace.
He actually said “I find no guilt in this man” (Luke 23:4).
He just washed his hands, trying to wash off of the responsibility. He gave over Barabbas when he could have released Jesus.
Matt 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them,
Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
Some think Pilate was a weak man and couldn’t make a decision but other scholars don’t see it like that. Philo, the early church father, writing at the time, said that Pilate was “calculating, cruel and brutal”.
Pilate was desperate to keep the peace. His career in the Roman Empire depended on his running the province smoothly and efficiently.
Pilate sacrificed Jesus to preserve Roman rule and his own career.
He washed his hands but he certainly did not wash away the responsibility.
So did Pilate kill Jesus?
Well again we see his party in the death of Jesus but he himself did not kill Jesus.
Was it the Romans?
Romans obviously saw Jesus as a political threat, as they had killed many other prophets, brigands, rebels during the first century. The answer to stopping this rebel called Jesus is to crucify Him.
Only Roman authorities could authorize crucifixions and they often did so, on a gruesome, massive scale.
So, history tells us that the Roman soldiers took Him to Golgotha and nailed Him to a cross.
Jesus death was inevitable, the end of a crucifixion was death, suffocation, loss of body fluids and multiple organ failure. It wasn't pleasant, "The weight of the body pulling down on the arms makes breathing extremely difficult," In addition, the heart and lungs would stop working as blood drained through wounds.
If this did not kill Him before the Sabbath, His legs would be broken and His weight would drop and possibly cause heart failure.
We know from scripture that this did not happen because when the soldiers came to check on Him, Jesus was already dead. They did not have to break His legs. They just pierced His side to make sure He was dead.
This fulfilled the scriptures that “Not one bone of His body would be broken”
Psalm 34:20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
So did the Romans kill Jesus?
Well again we know that it was the Romans that nailed Him to the Cross and we know that a soldier pierced Him with a spear.
However we are told that Jesus was already dead. So it was not the spear that killed Him.
Was it you and I that killed Jesus?
There are those that say that it is us who killed Jesus. That it was our sins that caused His death.
There are many verses in the Bible that relate to the fact, that the reason Jesus went to the cross was to save us from our sins and this is certainly correct.
Without His death, we could never be free of our sin. Without Jesus death, there could be no salvation.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
This is relating to death, not just bleeding. The shedding of blood meant death.
Our sin was certainly the cause of His death but did any of us actually kill Jesus?
So who did kill Jesus?
Was it the Jews, was it Judas Iscariot, was it Pontius Pilate, was it the Romans or was it us?
Of course it was none of these.
Clearly “it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt” (Isaiah 53:10a)
Jesus said that He came “to give his life as a ransom for many”(Mark 10:45) and that “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:18).
The simple truth is that Jesus gave up His life Himself.
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
No one killed Jesus, of course they condemned Him, they begged for His death, they accepted responsibility for His death, they shouted crucify Him.
Judas betrayed Him, Pilate handed Him over to the Romans, He died on our behalf and the Roman soldier pushed the spear into His body.
However, in actual fact, He gave up His life Himself, voluntarily.
Did all these people have a party in the death of Jesus, were they all responsible, absolutely but none of these killed Him.
Matt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.