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                          "WHO KILLED JESUS?"


INTRODUCTION

1. Movies depicting the death of Christ are often controversial...
   a. Especially "The Passion" produced by Mel Gibson
   b. Even "The Gospel Of John" has been criticized in this regard

2. The controversy is over the involvement of the Jews in the
   crucifixion...
   a. Many have used their involvement as the basis for anti-Semitism
   b. Seeking to place the entire blame for the death of Jesus on the
      Jews

3. Anti-Semitism with its hatred of Jews is certainly contrary to the
   scriptures...
   a. Such hatred of anyone is contrary to the teaching of Christ - cf.
      Mt 5:43-45
   b. The Jews are not alone in bearing responsibility for the death of
      Jesus

[Who killed Jesus, then?  Let's take a closer look by asking...]

I. WAS IT THE ROMANS?

   A. INVOLVEMENT OF THE ROMAN AUTHORITIES...
      1. The Jews had no power under Roman dominion to put one to death
         - Jn 18:28-31
      2. It was the Romans (i.e., Pilate) who:
         a. Gave the orders for Christ to be crucified - Jn 19:16
         b. Carried out the actual crucifixion - Jn 19:17-18,23,31-34,38

   B. JESUS PLACED GREATER RESPONSIBILITY ELSEWHERE...
      1. Note the words of Jesus to Pilate - Jn 19:10-11
      2. Pilate thought the power was totally his
      3. Those who delivered Jesus to the Romans bore the greater
         responsibility

["So it was the Jews who killed Jesus!"  Well, not so fast.  We should
ask another question...]

II. WERE THE JEWS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE?

   A. THEY DID BEAR A GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY...
      1. As the ones who delivered Jesus to Pilate - cf. Jn 19:11
      2. As the ones who forced Pilate to have Jesus crucified - Jn
         19:12-15
      3. Indeed, the Jews who forced Pilate accepted responsibility for
         their actions - Mt 27:22-25
      4. Paul (who may have participated in the call to crucify Jesus)
         laid blame for Jesus' death on the Jews of Judah - cf. 1Th
         2:14-15

   B. YET IT WAS ACCORDING TO THE FATHER'S PURPOSE...
      1. Note the sermon of Peter on Pentecost - Ac 2:22-23
         a. Jesus was delivered by the determined purpose and
            foreknowledge of God!
         b. The Jews and Romans were instruments in carry out God's
            will!
      2. Jesus understood this to be the case
         a. That it was God's will for Him to die - Mt 26:36-42
         b. That the Jews and Romans did not fully realize their sin
            - Lk 23:33-34

["So it was God who killed Jesus!"  Again, not so fast.  Consider
another question...]

III. WHY DID THE FATHER HAVE JESUS KILLED?

   A. JESUS SHED HIS BLOOD FOR THE REMISSION OF SIN...
      1. Jesus said His blood was to be shed for the remission of sins
         - cf. Mt 26:26-28
      2. His sacrificial death for our sins was foretold by Isaiah - Isa
         53:4-6,10-12

   B. JESUS WAS KILLED BECAUSE OF 'OUR' SINS...
      1. The Romans and the Jews were instruments of God (though they
         too bore responsibility)
      2. But all who are guilty of sin must bear responsibility for
         Jesus' death!
      3. That includes everyone! - cf. Ro 3:23
      4. Of course, forgiveness is now possible to all through the death
         of Jesus
         a. Even as Peter offered to the Jews who killed Jesus - Ac
            2:36-38
         b. God now desires that all repent and be saved - Ac 17:30-31;
            cf. 1Ti 2:3-6; 2Pe 3:9

[Who killed Jesus?  You and me, that's who!  Because of our sins God
sent His Son to die on the cross.  For those who accept God's grace,
there is one more question we do well to consider...]

IV. SHALL WE CRUCIFY JESUS AGAIN?

   A. IT IS POSSIBLE, AS SOME HAVE...
      1. The Hebrew writer spoke of some who were so guilty - He 6:6
      2. By refusing to repent of sins after having once benefited from
         God's grace - He 6:4-6

   B. ARE WE CRUCIFYING JESUS AGAIN...?
      1. We are if once saved we are living in unrepentant sin!
      2. Of course, cleansing is always possible to those who confess
         and repent - cf. 1Jn 1:9
      3. But not if we persist in sin with a rebellious attitude - cf.
         He 10:26-31

CONCLUSION

1. Who killed Jesus...?
   a. The Jews and Romans involved in the actual crucifixion bear some
      responsibility
   b. But God had Jesus killed because of our sins, so we all must bear
      responsibility as well

2. Perhaps the more pressing question should be "Who is killing
   Jesus?"...
   a. Those who refuse to accept God's grace still bear the guilt of
      their sins that caused Jesus' death
   b. Those who once accepted God's grace but turn away to unrepentant
      sin crucify Him once again

Let us make sure that we do not receive the grace of God in vain...!
- cf. 2Co 6:1-2
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