Why was Jesus Crucified?

The first is the cultural angle. In that day, the Romans determined the laws of the land and how to enforce them. Jewish culture said that a man committing certain sins should be stoned to death. The Romans mostly punished by either scourging or crucifixion. It was not lawful for the Jews to execute criminals, so they needed Roman assistance. (See John 18:31-32.)

Next was the religious angle. The religious leaders of that day were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin. These leaders felt threatened by Jesus as He began to have multitudes follow Him. His claims to be God were considered by these religious leaders as blasphemy. In their pride, they devised a plan to have the Romans kill Jesus so they could keep their positions and influence over the people. (See Matthew 26:62-68; Luke 23:1-2; John 11:47-53.)

The political angle comes into play because Rome did not like to hear of large crowds, insurrections, or any other uprisings. The Roman leader of Judea had already been warned not to allow any more bad reports sent to Rome. So, when the religious leaders claimed that Jesus threatened to do away with Roman rule and that anarchy would happen if Jesus was not dealt with, the Roman magistrate felt he was forced to have Jesus crucified. (See Matthew 27:15-24; Luke 23:13-23.)

Looking at the prophetic angle, one of the greatest prophesies of Christ comes out of Psalm 22. This Psalm was written several hundred years before crucifixion was invented and around 1000 years before Jesus was crucified. In this psalm, we see multiple events that occurred at Jesus’ crucifixion. For instance, “...They pierced My hands and My feet” (Psalm 22:16b).

However, the ultimate angle for understanding why Jesus was crucified is the sin angle. Simply put, we are sinners in need of a Savior! Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sin.