It was not just the religious leaders who put Jesus to death, because under the Roman occupation, they could not execute anyone. And so they brought Jesus to Pilate; they needed Pilate to say 'crucify him'. We know from the Bible that Pilate, in his heart, knew Jesus was innocent; he was looking for a way to release Jesus. His own wife told him 'have nothing to do with that man', and yet in the end, he gave the order.
Why? Pilate compromised. Pilate ordered Jesus' death.
There's an old song: "What will you do with Jesus? Neutral, you cannot be.
One day your heart will be asking, 'What will he do with me?'"1
Who else was involved? What else was involved that set Jesus on his course to Mt. Calvary? Well, how about the crowd that was yelling, 'Crucify him!' They were foolishly stirred up by the religious leaders. When Pilate asked, 'What did he do wrong?' The crowd yelled, 'Crucify him!' But what did he do wrong? 'Crucify him!'
In today's setting, we are manipulated by say, our college professors, doubting husbands, jeering work colleagues, our own lack of understanding and laziness even to search out truth! We must make our own decisions, search the Scriptures, analyze whether Jesus was the Savior of the world or not -- ask for understanding. Otherwise, we are like the crowd that day, easily persuaded by someone else or at the very least, unthinking
. It was an ignorant, gullible, manipulated crowd that put Jesus to death.
But then - speaking of the crowd - where were all of those who were directly touched by Jesus? People like the centurion and his servant, the ten lepers, those who had seen Lazarus, risen from the dead . . . who else?
Where were they? Perhaps they were busy.
Oh dear, now we're really getting close to home, eh? Club soccer on Sunday mornings? Oh, I get it. The call to the gym first thing in the morning pulling you away from 10 minutes with God?
But no, I do not really think that these folks were ultimately responsible for the death of Jesus, because then I remember what the prophet wrote, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."2,3
From The Message: 'the fact is, it was our pains he carried-
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us...
it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him-our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.
We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong,
on him, on him.
This closer look is not to bring condemnation or heap hot coals on anyone's head, but rather to help us see that what Jesus endured was for us. He came to earth to die; Jesus' life showed a better way of living, but his death made our eternal life possible.
Who Jesus was/who Jesus is ~ nothing short of amazing.4
Going to the cross ~ amazing.
Rising again ~ the linchpin of history and amazing!
p.s. - do not miss #4 below
2 - Isaiah 53.5
3 - Brooklyn Tabernacle - sermon archives