( foror )
|WHO killed Christ ?
and WHY ?
This page is designed to address two erroneous answers that are often given to the important question "Who killed Jesus Christ?"
There are very thought--provoking books on this subject. One is outstanding book, Constantine's Sword, by Roman Catholic James Carroll, which shows that the seeds of the Jewish Holocaust were sown in the Christian community almost from the start and then nurtured for many centuries before bearing its bitter fruit in what some have called "the greatest generation".
People who don't understand why Jews, and people who care about Jews, find Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ" so offensive should read what Jewish spokesmen have to say on the subject. See : the Anti-Defamation League web page at
the Simon Wiesenthal Center's statement at
the Letter from Tikkun's Rabbi Lerner
Who wanted Jesus dead?
People who don't know who wanted Jesus Christ dead and why, don't know what Jesus' life was all about, because the death of this man was a direct result of what Jesus was trying to accomplish, and how certain people, who were adversely affected by Jesus' life and teaching, conspired to cut his life and his work short. People who don't understand why Jesus was killed, and by whom simply don't know what his life was all about.
: He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again."
"The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Then he said to them all, "if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those (preachers and followers) who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
(Then Jesus described the plotting of those clerics as follows:)
" Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple. Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money.
The real mystery isn't who killed Christ, which the Gospels make crystal clear, but why people seem unwilling to accept the fact that Christ was murdered by so-called "men of god". To understand, the role of these religious leaders in the murder of Jesus, one must not be fooled by the political maneuvers these people engaged in at his trials. (as described in Luke 22, below) When arguing their case before Herod or Pilate, and before the Sanhedrin, these murderers were not necessarily displaying their real reasons for wanting Jesus dead, but rather the ones most likely to impress the judges involved.
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us." He replied, "If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." All of them asked, "Are you, then, the Son of God?" He said to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!"
If other passages show who killed Jesus, passages such as Matthew 21: 31 – 46 makes it very clear why the "men of God" of that time and place wanted to kill him. They didn't appreciate it when Jesus addressed them as follows:
Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him. "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance." So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet."
Matthew gives us more lengthy quotes of Jesus' words, but the other Gospel writers also believed this teaching was important enough to relate in their own shorter versions. Here's the way Luke and John spell out who killed Jesus and why :
No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." The Pharisees, who (because they) were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God."
"Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces.
"The man (who had been healed) went away and told the (Leaders of the) Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the (Leaders of the) Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, and I also am working." For this reason the (Leaders of the) Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
( John is very unique in the way that he refers to "the Jews", when talking about people that the three other gospels clearly identified as "scribes," "chief priests", "lawyers," and / or "Pharisees," After seeing the way people have maligned the whole Jewish people, by saying that "the Jews killed Christ", I think it is imperative to spell out as I did in parentheses in the passage above that when John says "the Jews" we should understand that to mean the politico-religious leadership of the Jews (which bears striking resemblance to the "Religious Right" of our day. and of many days in the past. )
"Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?" The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?" Jesus answered them, "I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man's whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill?"
I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father's presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father." They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does." They said to him, "We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God." . . . (v.59) So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
" But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, "What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed." He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death."
"When the great crowd of the (Leaders of the) Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the (Leaders of the) Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world – therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'Servants are not greater than their master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.'
I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them."
And this is what Peter said in
"You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know – this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law."
For much, much more on the Leaders of the "Religious Right" of our day, see
When the blind follow Blind Leaders &
Why follow the "Vicar" instead of following "Christ"?
If only they read the Gospels,