Who killed Jesus? The religious leaders wanted Jesus dead, but they had no power under Roman law to sentence Jesus to death. Pilate thought he had the power to authorize the death sentence of Jesus. He tells Jesus, “Do You not know that I have the power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus’ response, “You have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” is instructive.
Further, Jesus says, “the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (Jn. 18:28- 19:38). The religious leaders delivered Jesus to Pilate, and they pressured him to crucify the Lord. (Jn. 19:11-15). They took responsibility for the death of Jesus. (Mt. 27:22-25). Then, the religious leaders who delivered Him to the authorities must be held more guilty than Pilate and all the Roman Soldiers who crucified him. Paul holds the religious leaders responsible for the death of Jesus (1 Thess. 2:14-15)
However, Peter views the death of Jesus as something ordained by the foreknowledge of God the Father! (Acts 2:22-23). Then, the religious leaders and the Roman soldiers were only instruments in carrying out the Father’s plan. Jesus knew it was the Father’s will for Him to die.
Why did the Father permit the death of the Son? Jesus’ blood was sacrificially shed as a remission for the sins of the world. (Mt. 26: 26-28). Seven hundred years earlier, Prophet Isaiah foretold, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5).
Jesus was crucified because of our sins. (Ro. 3:23). Forgiveness and healing are now possible to all through the death of Jesus. We need not point fingers at the Romans soldiers or the religious leaders. Instead, we need to point fingers at our sinful hearts.
The sins of the whole world caused God to send His Son to die on the cross. Good Friday tells us that Christ the King is calling everyone back to God. His desire is for all men to be saved.
So, who was really responsible for the King’s death? It is you and me. God loves us so much “that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16). Those who accept God’s gracious gift of His Son will enjoy abundant life.