People Who Contributed to Jesus' Crucifixion
When we read the Gospel accounts, we find people who contributed to Jesus Christ's crucifixion and the reasons why they hated the Son of God so much. It is important to see this, because then we will understand the essential point of Jesus’ crucifixion, namely that He was crucified for our sins.
1. Judas Iscariot
There is an increasing trend of trying to justify Judas. Some people say that Judas was an honest patriot who concluded that Jesus is a danger for the Jewish nation. The Lord Jesus was betrayed in order to save Israel, to avoid open conflict with the Romans. Others think that Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand, so that he would start taking action against the Romans. This way, Jesus would be forced to show his divine power and to prove in front of everybody that He is the Messiah. Judas wanted to test Jesus. He wasn’t sure if he was the Messiah. If He was arrested, that would clarify the situation. If He was the Messiah, He would free Himself, but if He wasn’t , then He was just an impostor who deserved to die.
How ingenious are these explanations. However, none of them has biblical support. The fact that was clearly pointed out by the gospel writers is that Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus for money. John says: “he was a thief.” (John 12:6)
Why this modern trend to excuse Judas? An answer could be that it’s because we resemble Judas very much ourselves, even if we don’t want to admit it. The reason for what Judas did was greed. Judas is a very good illustration of what the apostle Paul says: “the love of money is the root of all evil.” There are people who would do anything for money. Among these are not just criminals , but some of them are business people, politicians, lawyers, judges, even very rich people.
A catholic priest, Francis Xavier, said he heard many people confessing their sins, but hasn’t heard anyone confessing the sin of greed.
Greed and love of money are a very serious sin. Many, like the rich young ruler, renounced the Lord Jesus, because they had too many riches and they trusted in their riches and loved their money and material possessions more than God.
2. The soldiers
We could say they just did their duty. These soldiers obviously realised that Jesus was different. The centurion said: “Truly, this One was Son of God.” The soldiers’ sin was indifference. While Jesus was hanging on the cross, the soldiers were dividing His clothes among themselves, and cast lots for his shirt.
The greatest sin towards someone is not to hate him, but to be indifferent towards him. But an even greater sin is to be indifferent to Jesus Christ.
Most people have time for their job, for the things they want to do, for pleasure, business, etc. But they don’t have time for God. Indifference is the sin that separates many people from God. Contrary to what many people think, we don’t need to commit a very serious sin in order to be lost. We are lost if remain indifferent to God’s loving call that He is addressing to us through the Gospel.
Why didn’t Herod free Jesus? Why did he mock Christ? Because Herod was living with his brother’s wife. Herod’s sin was immorality. Most divorces are caused by marital infidelity, by adultery.
C.S. Lewis said: “Chastity (sexual purity) is the most unpopular Christian virtue.”
The majority of people reject Christ not for intellectual reasons, but for moral ones. Many people believe in Christ but don’t want to follow Him, because they say: “I can’t keep this up.”
He was afraid that Jesus would be a rival leader and would overshadow his and his family’s power. Caiaphas’ sin was pride. His words: “it is better for one man to die than the whole nation” prove that he wanted to hold on to power.
Lord Acton said: “Power always corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts.” Caiaphas put his own interest before Jesus. Before him and after him there have been so many people who looked for fame and power. But behind that was selfishness and pride.
John Stott was asked by a student to define Christianity in a sentence. Stott answered: “Jesus Christ wants to be the centre of your life, and you have to move to the periphery.” “Oh, I sure don’t like this idea of de-centralisation,” said the young man.
5. The chief priests
Why did the chief priests want to crucify Christ? Mark gives us the answer and says that Pilate realised they delivered Jesus to him out of envy (Mk. 15:10). The priests’ sin was envy.
Most people don’t think envy is a serious sin. But the chief priests’ envy led them to send Jesus to death.
Chrisostom said: “As the moth eats through a cloth, so the envy consumes a man.” “It is sad, but religious people are especially prone to envy” said Val Grieve, a lawyer.
The chief priests may have been sincerely religious people, but they were jealous of Jesus and His popularity. The envy they felt towards Jesus made them hate Him so much that they happily contributed to the Son of God’s death.
There are 3 ways in which someone can show envy:
- We like to hear someone speaking evil of the people we envy
- Or we want to hit at those who we think are above us and try to bring them down to our level
- We like to be envied. “Oh, the job he has, his house…” I like to see them go green with envy.
There is a Greek story that tells about 2 sportsmen from the same town, who were always competing against each other. One of them was always a little better than the other and was always winning. The town people erected him a statue. His rival, full of envy, went each night and was digging under the feet of the statue. The statue fell on him and he died.
Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty. Pilate’s sin was fear. Although he was convinced that Christ is not guilty, he didn’t free Him, because he was afraid he would be reported to Caesar if he frees Jesus, and he would lose his governorship.
The Bible says fear of men is a trap. Oftentimes, when someone comes to Jesus, he is ridiculed, mocked. You need courage to be a Christian. It is so easy to be afraid, like Pilate.
The sins of those who contributed to the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion were: greed, indifference, lust, envy, pride, fear.
When you are guilty of one or more of these sins, you are practically following in the footsteps of one of these people, and if you had lived in those times and were in their situation, you would have done exactly as they did. My dear reader, do you understand that Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins, that He was wounded for our transgressions?
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