Jesus in the Gospels (12)

Who crucified Jesus?

The Romans performed the physical act, but under which law? Jews did not have the right to crucify anyone, while under Roman rule. Such a punishment was in Roman power only. Therefore, based on whose law was Jesus crucified? “They all asked, ‘Are you the son of God?’ He replied, ‘You are right in saying I am.’ Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard from his own lips.'” Luke 22:70, 71, NIV. When Jews arrested Jesus, they took Him to Annas, the father-in-law of the officiating high priest Caiaphas. Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas for the determination of the form of punishment. The leaders called several witnesses who gave false testimony. Mathew 26:59. The high priest could not find enough evidence to charge Jesus according to the Roman law, so he decided to charge Him under the temple law, the law concerning the blasphemy. The high priest charged Jesus under oath to say whether He is the Son of God. When Jesus answered affirmative, they officially found Him guilty of blasphemy. Mathew 26:63, 65.

The Jewish leaders, however, decided to crucify Jesus, to serve their purpose. They, thus, sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion for speaking blasphemy, even though the stoning was the prescribed punishment for blasphemy. Leviticus 24:13, 14. Why?  They wanted to invoke the law, reserved for a capital crime deserving the death on a tree. The Deuteronomy 21:22 said that anyone guilty of such an offense and hung on a tree is cursed by God. Accordingly, the Jewish leaders reasoned that God would curse Jesus if they hang Him on a tree. Therefore, He would not have a chance of resurrection. For the Jews, being crucified on a wooden cross was the same as being hung on a tree. Acts 5:30. However, because the Jews did not have rights, under the Roman law, to crucify anyone, they took Jesus to the Roman Consul Pilate.

The Pilate did not find a reason, under Roman law, to crucify Jesus because there was no evidence to support the Jewish charges. The Jewish leaders told Pilate, ‘We have the law, He claims to be the Son of God; therefore, He must die. The Consul Pilate, under pressure by the Jewish leaders, handed Jesus to the Jews to be crucified. John 19:16. Jews were sure that Jesus would not rise because God would curse him. Was Jesus cursed?

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’” Galatians 3:13, NIV. Why was Jesus cursed on our behalf? “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV.  God put our sinful life, and our sin, in the body of Jesus, on the cross at Golgotha, therefore, our sinful life died forever, in the body of Jesus Christ. “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV.

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Dan Lazich

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