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Who Crucified Jesus Christ?

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Who Crucified Jesus?.

Isaiah 53:3-6 Matthew 27: 1-44

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Who Crucified Jesus?.

Who crucified Jesus Christ?

The Jews? Indeed, some Jewish people were complicit. But the early disciples were Jews, too.

The Romans? Pontius Pilate allowed Jesus’ crucifixion, through compromise. Roman soldiers drove those nails in His hands. Can we blame Rome for the death of Jesus? No.

He died for our sins.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

Self-Righteous Religion Crucified Jesus

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death (Matthew 27:1).

These were religious leaders. Many of them were Pharisees, the strictest of the strict.

The worst form of badness is human goodness when it becomes a substitute for being born again. That is what self-righteousness is. It deals with the externals, but never the heart. There are many “religious” people who go through the rituals, but have never met Jesus Christ.

If self-righteousness could save, why did Jesus die?

Jesus died to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. If you have never repented of your sin and trusted Christ, you do not know how holy God is, and you do not know how sinful you are.

Religious Hypocrisy Crucified Jesus

Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew 27:3-4a).

Judas was a hypocrite. He loved silver more than the Savior. He went out and hanged himself (see Matthew 27:5)—he was filled with remorse, but he never really repented.

Jesus said it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born. (See Matthew 26:24.) If you are not born again, the day will come when you will wish you had never been born at all.

Compromise Crucified Jesus

When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it” (Matthew 27:24).

Pilate was a fence-straddler—but he was not a fool. “For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy” (Matthew 27:18). Pilate knew Jesus was innocent.

God sent Pilate’s wife a dream. “While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, ‘Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him’” (Matthew 27:19).

But the Jews had put Pilate in a corner. They said, in effect, “If you don’t crucify Him, we’ll tell Caesar you’re in cahoots with a man who claims to be a rival king.” (See John 19:12.)

Out of fear, Pilate compromised. What buttered his bread determined his conduct. People say, “Well, a man’s got to live.” No, he has to die! He has to face judgment.

In all of Pilate’s pomp and braggadocio, he was a coward. He assumed he could be neutral. But his decision not to decide was a decision. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30a).

Conformity Crucified Jesus

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus (Matthew 27:20).

Jesus went about healing. Barabbas went about killing. (See Mark 15:7.) They would rather have a murderer than Jesus!

But why?

“Our leaders say we ought to. Everybody is doing it.”

The crowd is almost always wrong. (See Matthew 7:13.) Think for yourself. These people in Matthew 27 did not know, but they could have known and they should have. Do you want to know? Then God will speak to you.

Cruelty & Indifference Crucified Jesus

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head (Matthew 27:28-30).

Jesus was brutalized by these soldiers. While He was suffering, they were gambling at the foot of the cross. (See Matthew 27:35.)

And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned (Luke 23:48).

But it will take more than a pious gesture, more than a sympathetic tear.

The question is not whether you are moved in sorrow by the cross. Have you taken Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Religious Skepticism Crucified Jesus

And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God’” (Matthew 27:39-43).

The religious skeptics were there in that day, just as they are in ours.

They misquoted Jesus’ words. (See John 2:19.) They mocked His deity. “…If you are the Son of God…”

A man is not a sinner because he is a skeptic; he is a skeptic because he is a sinner. Unbelief does not come out of the head. It comes out of the heart. (See Hebrews 3:12.) What Christians believe is not contrary to reason—it is beyond reason. If you want to know, you can.

Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17).

All atheists in Hell are now believers.

Why Was Jesus Crucified?

Jesus did not have to die. He was not a martyr, nor a victim. The crucifixion of Jesus was not an accident. He said,

“…I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father" (John 10:17b-18).

God the Father could have stopped the crucifixion, had He wanted to. But He “did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (see Romans 8:32). What does that mean?

It speaks of Almighty God’s justice. If there were ever a time when God would have been tempted to be lenient about sin, it would have been when Christ was bearing that sin. Do you think God is going to spare you?

Your sin will be pardoned in Christ or punished in Hell, but it will never be overlooked.

List of Scriptures Referenced in This Article

Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 7:13, 26:24, 27:1-44; Mark 15:7; Luke 23:48; John 2:19, 7:17, 10:17-18; Hebrews 3:12; Romans 8:32

More Bible Verses About the Crucifixion of Jesus

I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21).
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:7-9).