Who Caused Christ's Crucifixion?

Who Caused Christ's Crucifixion?

Perry Duggar |

Who caused Christ's crucifixion?

Who Caused Christ’s Crucifixion?
Examining Easter – Part 1
Perry Duggar
April 2, 2023

A. Introduction: Two-week series entitled, Examining Easter.

Today is Palm Sunday; message title is a question: Who caused Christ’s crucifixion?

  • Theme verse: Mark 15:24 (NLT)— Then the soldiers nailed Him to the cross. …
  • Palm Sunday reminds us of the Sunday almost 2000 years ago when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey, as the people cheered and waved palm branches, at the beginning of Passover Week.
  • They praised God for sending the long-awaited son of David, the Messiah!
  • We call this event the Triumphal Entry of Christ, but very soon, the triumph would turn to tragedy as Jesus was arrested, falsely tried and convicted, then crucified.
  • How did this happen? Who was responsible for the cruel death of Jesus?

B. Did Jesus die because of…

2. A greedy disciple? (Matthew 26:14-25, 36-50; John 12:3-6. C/R: Matthew 6:24; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:9–10)

  • Judas Iscariot (from town of Kerioth in Judah) is identified in the New Testament as the betrayer of Jesus—a betrayal predicted in the Psalms (Psalms 41:9; 55:12-14).
  • But Judas had been one of Jesus’ hand-picked helpers the past three years; he heard
  • Jesus teach, saw Him heal and enjoyed His friendship, so why did he turn traitor?
  • Some writers believe Judas wanted to force Jesus into taking action, to initiate a conflict with the Romans to drive them out of Judea.
  • The Gospels reveal that Satan entered Judas—and influenced him—but he had to choose to submit to Satan’s direction. (Luke 22:3-6; John 13:27)
  • Both suggestions are involved in Judas’ motivation; neither his primary motivation.
  • Let’s consider at an incident that occurred the day before Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.
  • John 12:3–6 (NLT)— 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume… and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping His feet with her hair. …
    4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray Him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a [workman’s] year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
  • Judas was greedy; his love of money allowed him to steal from resources entrusted to him that supported the disciples and helped people in need.
  • We see his avarice evidenced again at Matthew 26:14–16 (NLT)— 14 Then Judas Iscariot, … went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
  • Judas singled out Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as the person to arrest.
  • Matthew 26:47–50 (NLT)— 47 …Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. [sent by leading priests and elders] 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet Him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave Him the kiss.
    50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”
  • Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested Him.
  • Judas was willing to betray Jesus for money; I wonder whether we are by earning income dishonestly, underreporting earnings or refusing to give to God?
  • [Colossians 3:5 says, …a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. ]
  • APP.: Are we betraying Jesus to follow this world: pleasure, power, popularity?

Did Jesus die because of…

2. An envious religious leadership? (Mark 15:9-11; John 5:16-18; 11:47-53. C/R: Galatians 5:26; Philippians 2:3; James 3:14–16)

  • The religious leaders of Israel (priests and lawyers) should have been eager to discover if this miracle-worker was the long-awaited Messiah, but they weren’t.
  • John 5:16–18 (NLT)— 16 So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. 17 But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” 18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For He not only broke the Sabbath, He called God His Father, thereby making Himself equal with God. [Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malachi, David, Solomon, all did!]
  • These religious leaders considered themselves the experts on God and His laws.
  • Then Jesus showed up claiming intimacy with God, …and gaining popularity!
  • John 11:47–50,53 (NLT)— 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together.…“This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow Him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in Him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.” [True?]
    49 Caiaphas, who was high priest…, said, “… 50 it’s better… that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” [prophecy]
    53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.
  • Their true motivation for murdering Jesus is seen at Matthew 27:18 (NLT)— ([Pilate] knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
  • The people were beginning to follow Him, listen to His teaching, seeking His opinion about religious matters rather than theirs; they were filled with jealousy!
  • They had Him arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, tried Him before the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin, who condemned Him to death for blasphemy.
  • APP.: Have we ever wanted Jesus’ authority removed from our lives? Do we resent Him because we want to live the way we want and don’t like His Word pointing out where we are wrong in our personal lives spiritually and morally?
  • Because Israel was ruled by Rome, the Sanhedrin could not carry out a death sentence, they needed Pilate, the Roman governor, to carry out the punishment.

Did Jesus die because of…

3. An insecure authority? (John 19:1-16. C/R: Proverbs 29:25; Matthew 27:24-26; Mark 15:15; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 13:6)

Pontius Pilate was appointed governor of Judea by Roman Emperor Tiberius; he disrespected the Jewish religion, even took Temple money to build an aqueduct.

  • He was deeply resented for his tactics and despised as a Gentile by the Jews.
  • He was ruthless in maintaining law and order—using violence, even murder, to suppress any threat of uprising or riot, but his brutality displeased the Emperor.
  • He was ambitious, so he feared of another bad report reaching the Roman ruler.
  • The Jews accused Jesus of creating unrest, opposing tax payments to Caesar and claiming to be a king (Luke 23:2), but Pilate found nothing wrong with Jesus (v.4).
  • Luke 23:5 (NLT)— 5 Then [the Jews] became insistent. “But He is causing riots by His teaching wherever He goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!” [A very disturbing comment to a man charged with maintaining peace and order.]
  • John 19:12 (NLT—Then Pilate tried to release Him [Passover custom] , but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.” [See the threat!]
  • Matthew 27:24-26 (NLT)— 24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” [He lacked the courage, the conviction, to do what he knew was right!]
    25 And the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for His death—we and our children!”
    26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
  • Pilate’s fear of Caesar, his concern about what these Jewish leaders would report and how they would react, caused him to give in and order Jesus crucified.
  • Sometimes insecurity or fear causes us to abandon our convictions about Christ.
  • We don’t want to lose friends or a romantic relationship, so we compromise what we believe to fit in, to make peace; we engage in behavior we know is wrong.

Did Jesus die because of…

4. An ordinary person? (Acts 4:27-28; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 4:10)

  • Jesus gathered with His ordinary disciples on Thursday evening in the Upper Room (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12) to celebrate the Passover meal (Last or Lord’s Supper).
  • Matthew 26:23-24 (NLT)— 23 [Jesus] replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with Me will betray Me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays Him. …!”
  • Judas was identified, then left, but others confused about meaning. (John 13:21-30)
  • LORD’S SUPPER: Matthew 26:26-31 (NLT)—[BREAD] 26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is My body.”
    [CUP] 27 And He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is My blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. …”
    30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
    31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert Me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
  • Jesus was walking toward His arrest, torture and death, yet He spoke to these men, whose sin required His sacrifice and who would personally betray Him in His hour of greatest need—that He would arise and would meet them again!
  • Jesus Christ died so that we could live; He shed His blood to save, to forgive, us.
  • 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)— He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. [Why would He die for these disciples or us—ordinary people who sin?]
  • [For love!] 1 John 4:10 (NLT)— This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. [memory verse]

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