The Crucifixion of Jesus and the Jews
Jesus was executed because he was a Jewish victim of Roman persecution. On this point, all documented authorities are in agreement. His execution was ordered by the Gentile Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, who had him tortured and killed by Gentile Roman troops before he was executed. In fact, Jesus was one of thousands of Jews who were executed by the Romans. The New Testament not only attests to this fundamental reality, but it also provides for Jewish participation in two ways. A small group of high-ranking Jewish officials who owed their positions and authority to the Romans colluded with the Gentile leaders to have Jesus executed; they are claimed to have been envious of Jesus and to have regarded him as an existential danger to the status quo.
The number of individuals in this mob is not specified, nor is there any explanation provided for their actions (other than the fact that they had been “stirred up,” as stated in Mark 15:11).
As recorded in Matthew, the Roman ruler wipes his hands of Jesus’ blood, as the Jews exclaim, “His blood be upon us and upon our children!” (Matthew 27:25.) Throughout Jesus’ mission, the Jews are shown as desiring to murder him in John’s Gospel (John 5:18,John 7:1,John 8:37).
This shift in emphasis is not entirely clear, but one obvious possibility is that as the church spread throughout the world, Romans rather than Jews became the primary targets of evangelism; as a result, there may have been some motivation to “off-the-hook” the Romans and blame the Jews for Jesus’ death rather than the other way around.
However, by the middle of the second century, the apocryphal Gospel of Peter presents the Romans as Jesus’ supporters, and the Jews as those who crucify him, according to tradition.
As a result, anti-Semitism has fed such beliefs for ages, culminating in the crude demonization of Jews as “Christ-killers.” Christians have traditionally held, in opposition to such predictions, that the human actors responsible for Jesus’ execution are irrelevant: he offered his life voluntarily as a sacrifice for sin (Mark 10:45;John 18:11).
“Let his blood be upon us and upon our children!” cries out the congregation in most liturgical churches when Matthew’s PassionNarrativeis read during a worship service.
In most liturgical churches, when Matthew’s PassionNarrativeis read during a worship service, all members of the congregation are invited to echoMatt 27:25aloud, crying out, “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children!”
In his role as a Jewish victim of Roman oppression, Jesus was crucified. Almost every source in writing agrees on this point. His execution was ordered by the Gentile Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, who had him tortured and killed by Gentile Roman troops before he could be executed. Thousands of Jews were crucified alongside Jesus by the Romans, and he was one of them. In addition to confirming this fundamental reality, the New Testament also provides for Jewish participation in two ways. A small group of high-ranking Jewish officials who owed their positions and authority to the Romans colluded with the Gentile leaders to have Jesus executed.
- First and foremost, an angry multitude of people in Jerusalem cried out for Jesus to be crucified.
- Whatever the actual circumstances, early Christian tradition consistently and increasingly assigned responsibility for Jesus’ execution to the Jews, while diminishing the responsibility of the Romans.
- Other writers, including Paul, who was once a Jew and had himself persecuted Christians, express similar ideas in other writings (1Thess 2:14-15,Phil 3:5-6).
- It appears that this tendency has accelerated significantly since the Roman battle against the Jews in the late 1960s.
- Consequently, a Jewish victim of Roman brutality became a Christian victim of Jewish violence, and vice versa.
- It is a common confession among Christians that it was their sins (rather than the actions of either the Romans or the Jews) that condemned Jesus to death (Rom 5:8-9;1Tim 1:15).
In most liturgical churches, when Matthew’s PassionNarrativeis read during a worship service, all members of the congregation are invited to echo Matthew 27:25aloud, crying out, “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children!”
Why Did They Crucify Jesus?
When I hear the many sweet-sounding platitudes that are thrown around nowadays, one that I hear frequently is that Jesus was crucified because he was exceedingly inclusive and kind. It is reported that Jesus was crucified because he welcomed the outcasts. He was slain because he was hanging around with prostitutes and half-breds, among other things. He was slain because he was showing such bravery in his love, and his opponents couldn’t take it any longer. There is a lot of truth in these remarks.
- However, this does not imply that the platitude is accurate, nor does it imply that it is harmless.
- Jesus was executed because of his godlike behavior and his wild claims to deity, which is something that the gospel authors all across the world strive to downplay or embellish.
- But Jesus remained deafeningly silent.
- Nevertheless, I assure you that from this time forward, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and ascending on the clouds of sky.” Then the high priest tore his robes and cried out, “He has spoken blasphemy against the Most High.” What further witnesses do we require?
- “How do you feel about it?” They said, “He is deserving of death.” In Luke 15:2, the people expressed displeasure with Jesus for dining with sinners and tax collectors (Luke 15:2), but they executed him because he claimed to be God’s Son and the King of Israel.
Let us know whether you are the Son of God by coming down from the crucifixion.” Likewise, the top priests, together with the scribes and the elders, made fun of him, saying: “He rescued others, but he cannot save himself.” His title is “King of Israel,” and if he can come down from the cross today, we will accept him as our Messiah.
- Because Jesus declared, “I am the Son of God.” Although Jesus’ teachings on Torah repeatedly infuriated Jewish rabbis, it was his self-identification that prompted them to murder him.
- Rather of assuming that Jesus was most despised because he was so kind and forgiving, we should remember that the Jews stated unequivocally, “It is not for a good job that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you have declared yourself to be God” (John 10:33).
- He did, in fact, do so.
The claims to Lordship, the posture of authority, the exalted titles, the exercise of Messiahship, the presumed right to forgive, the way in which Jesus placed himself at the center of Israel’s story, the delusions of grandeur, the acceptance of worship, and the audacity of man claiming to be God were the things that infuriated the establishment the most.
The reason he died was because he behaved and talked in the manner of the incarnation Son of God, and because he refused to deny that he was the incarnate Son of God when the world despised him for being that Son of God.
He is married and has two children (Charlotte).
Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have nine children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, Mary, Benjamin, Tabitha, Andrew, and Susannah. Kevin and Trisha have nine children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, Mary, Benjamin, Tabitha, Andrew, and Susannah.
Who Killed Jesus?
In 1965, as part of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church issued the much-anticipated proclamation Nostra Aetate, which took a fresh look at the subject of Jewish blame for the execution of Jesus Christ. That modern-day Jews could not be held responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion, and that not all Jews who were alive at the time of Jesus’ execution were guilty of the crime, according to the arguments in the paper. In the history of Christian views toward Jews, this was a significant step forward, as Christian anti-Semitism has long been predicated on the assumption that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion.
When Jesus was crucified, they thought that the Church would come out and claim that the Jews had had no role in his execution.
Jews Lacked A Motive for Killing Jesus
Indeed, most historians believe that it would have been more rational to place the responsibility for Jesus’ execution on the Romans. Crucifixion was a common form of punishment among the Romans, not among the Jews. At the time of Jesus’ execution, the Romans were enforcing a harsh and ruthless occupation on the Land of Israel, and the Jews had been rebellious at times throughout the occupation. The Romans would have had good cause to desire to silence Jesus, who had been dubbed “King of the Jews” by some of his disciples and was well-known as a Jewish upstart miracle worker at the time of his death.
The many factions of the Jewish society at the period — including the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and others — had numerous differences with one another, but none of the organizations orchestrated the death of the leaders of the other purportedly heretical sects.
READ: The History of the Land of Israel Under Roman Control Nonetheless, the notion that Jews murdered Jesus can be found in Christian foundational literature dating back to the early days of the Jesus movement, and it is unlikely that it will be readily abandoned simply because of historians’ arguments.
The New Testament Account
The notion that Jews assassinated Jesus is parodied in this 1896 cartoon, which substitutes Uncle Sam for the historical figure. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) “The Jews who killed the Lord, Jesus,” Paul writes in his writings, which are considered by historians to be the earliest works of the New Testament (written 10 to 20 years after Jesus’ death), and he addresses them very briefly: “the Jews who slaughtered the Lord, Jesus” (I Thessalonians 2:14-15). While the idea that the Jews bear primary responsibility for Jesus’ death is not central to Paul’s understanding of Jesus’ life and death, the idea that the Jews bear primary responsibility for Jesus’ death is more prominent in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, each of which presents a slightly different account of Jesus’ life.
Eventually, the high priest comes to the conclusion that Jesus is guilty of blasphemy and petitions the Jewish council for guidance on how to punish him.
Matthew’s account of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross (referred to by Christians as “Jesus’ “passion”) has served as the inspiration for numerous books, plays, and musical compositions over the years, and it is a prominent part of Christian liturgy, particularly during the celebration of Easter.
It is said that Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler of Judea, was fundamentally sympathetic to Jesus, but that he was unable to overcome the pressure from the Jews, who demanded that Jesus be put to death.
When Pilate arrives, the gathering members of the Jewish community tell him, “His blood be on us and on our children,” which is the most contentious verse in all of the passion accounts (Matthew 27:25).
According to Christian doctrine, succeeding generations of Jews are also guilty of deicide, the crime of murdering God, which was committed by their forefathers.
Church Fathers and Thereafter
An etching from 1845 portraying King Herod and Pontius Pilate exchanging handshakes. (Photo by F.A. Ludy courtesy of Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons) With even more clarity and power, this allegation emerges in the works of the Church Fathers, who are considered to be the most authoritative Christian theologians who lived after the New Testament period. After explaining to his Jewish interlocutor why the Jews had experienced exile and the destruction of their Temple, Justin Martyr (mid-second century) concludes that these “tribulations were justly placed on you since you have assassinated the Just One” (Jesus Christ) (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 16).
- A historical King Solomon addresses the Jews in “The Mystery of Adam,” a religious drama from the 12th century that prophesies that they would eventually slay the son of God, as depicted in the play.
- This statement is subject to verification.
- The masters of the law will be the ones who do this.
- They’ll descend from a tremendous height, and may they be comforted in their bereaved state of affairs.
- In recent times, passion plays — large-scale outdoor theater events that dramatize the end of Jesus’ life and frequently feature hundreds of actors — have continued to spread this notion, as have other forms of religious expression.
In the Talmud
Handshake between King Herod and Pontius Pilate, seen in an 1845 etching F.A. Ludy’s photograph, courtesy of Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons This allegation arises with much more clarity and intensity in the works of the Church Fathers, the authoritative Christian theologians who lived beyond the time of the New Testament. One of the Church Fathers, Justin Martyr (around the middle of the second century), explains to a Jewish interlocutor why the Jews had experienced exile and the destruction of their Temple: “these hardships were justly put on you since you murdered the Righteous” (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 16).
This motif appears in Christian literature and play throughout the ancient and medieval periods.
From the original Norman French and Latin comes this rhyming English translation: Verification of this statement will take place.
Whoever envies him and all those who implore him will lose their lordly position.
In recent times, passion plays — large-scale outdoor theater events that dramatize the end of Jesus’ life and frequently feature hundreds of actors — have continued to spread this notion, as have other forms of religious education.
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Romans are to blame for death of Jesus
Among religious specialists and laypeople alike, the soon-to-be-released Mel Gibson film “The Passion of the Christ” is causing quite a commotion in the media. Many people believe the film contains anti-Semitic implications. Although the Jews are often believed to have been involved in Jesus’ death, according to Dr. Frank K. Flinn of Washington University in St. Louis’ department of religious studies, the Romans are truly to blame for the death of Jesus. Frank Flinn is a songwriter and musician from the United Kingdom.
“Crucifications could only be authorized by the Roman authorities, and they frequently did so on a brutal, mass scale.” In the opinion of Flinn, an expert on Catholicism, Gibson’s film appears to merge all of the gospel stories about the Passion into one epic, a made-for-the-big-screen story that fails to show how opinions about the Jews’ role in the crucifixion have changed dramatically over time, as has been shown in other films about the Passion.
- The author points out that our oldest accounts of the crucifixion, such as the Gospel of Mark, which was written about 60-70 C.E., make it apparent that Pilate was the one who ordered Christ’s execution.
- “Matthew, most likely as a result of inter-Jewish competition, places the ultimate responsibility fully on the shoulders of the Jewish leadership,” Flinn explained.
- When it came to Jewish persecution and murder throughout the Middle Ages, the label “Christ-killers” became a rhetorical club to legitimize the ghettoization, persecution, and slaughter of Jews.
- A Guide to Taking in the Show Mel Gibson’s next film Written by Frank K.
- In his books The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, Josephus, the Jewish historian, records several incidents.
- Only the Roman authorities had the authority to order crucifixions, and they did it on a brutal and enormous scale on a regular basis.
- The first Galilean disciples of Jesus regarded him as a prophet similar to Elijah, who wandered the Galilean hills healing the sick and reviving the dead, as did the prophet Elijah.
- Sadducees and Pharisees were among the Jewish leaders who owed their positions to their patron-client relationship with the Roman rulers (notice the word “some”).
- In addition to the teachers and prophets in rural Galilee and the Dead Sea Scrolls community at Qumran, other Jewish groups and individuals either rejected or rebelled against the corrupt relationship between Jerusalem and Rome.
- Along with the Temple tax, this tax was collected for Rome by the Temple officials, who distributed it to tax farmers.
- Due to the annual ordinance of Jubilee, it should have been possible for the rich in Jerusalem to restore this territory to the original tribes, but they failed to do so.
According to Leviticus 19:4, “render unto Caesar” means “return to Caesar” his own coin with Caesar’s image on it (a blasphemy to the pious Jew!) and “return to God” what is God’s, which is the land itself, which God ultimately owns and which God gave directly to Israel in the covenant (Joshua 24:13)!” The message of Jesus was both spiritually and politically dangerous, first to the Roman rulers and then, secondary, to their client appointees in Jerusalem, who were first threatened by it.
- The Gospel of Mark, the earliest Gospel we know, was written between 60 and 70 CE.
- Matthew and Luke were written considerably later, in the year 80-95, and show a wide range of interests and points of view.
- Aside from his status as a Jewish disciple of Jesus (Antioch being the site of the first use of the term “Christian”), Matthew also comments on the era following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, when tensions broke out between rabbinic Yavneh Jews and Jewish followers of Jesus.
- It’s possible that the rabbis weren’t all that successful.
- (I constantly point out to my pupils that a Christian may attend any Jewish Sabbath service and participate fully in all of the prayers with complete religious commitment.) Matthew goes to great lengths to disassociate himself from the actions of the Roman authority.
- Perhaps as a result of intra-Jewish competition, the phrase “His blood be upon us and our offspring” is added to place the ultimate responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Jewish leadership (Matthew 24:25).
- The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts should be read together as a single piece of literature.
We can now use the name “Christian,” which appears for the first time in Acts 11:26, but the term was probably definitely coined as a derogatory slur in its original context.
Against the backdrop of Roman criticism, Luke is attempting to defend Christianity against the charge of “superstition” leveled against it.
The paragraphs about Jesus being crowned with thorns and being mocked have been omitted.
“But Jesus hedelivered over to theirwill,” says Luke, elaborating on Pilate’s guilt (Luke 23:26).
In its present form (ca.
100-110 CE) is that John does not place the blame for Jesus’ death solely on Pilate, or Pilate’s Jewish authorities, or even the Jewish authorities alone, but on “Jews” collectively (John 19:12).
The stage is laid for the later, tragic accusation that “the Jews murdered Jesus,” despite the fact that John does not state so explicitly.
It was not until after Constantine established a complete break with Judaism as such that the term “Christ-killers” was coined to describe these individuals.
Bishop John Chrysostom of Constantinople (ca.
By the Middle Ages, the label “Christ-killers” had evolved into a linguistic club used to legitimize the ghettoization, persecution, and death of Jews around the world, particularly in Europe.
My argument establishes a chronological order for determining who was responsible for Jesus’ killing, as well as the appropriate terminology for each stage: Romans Leaders of the Romans and Jews The High Priest, the Scribes, and the Elders/Romans Chief Priest, Scribes, Elders, and the general populace/Pilate (sort of) Jews are a group of people who live in a community that is surrounded by other Jews (in general) “Stiff-necked Individuals” “Christ-killers.” According to what I’ve read about Mel Gibson’s movie in published accounts, it appears to be similar to many other films about Jesus in that it combines all of the gospel tales about the passion into a single narrative.
As I’ve demonstrated above, the multiple gospels express quite different messages.
This makes it seem eerily similar to the infamous traditional Catholic Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany, which was in its original form grossly stereotyped and anti-Semitic in its content.
Most crucially, the inclination in virtually all Christian interpretations of Jesus’ death is to adopt as one’s frame of reference, not the first phrase in the sequence I listed above, but the last term in the series. But, to be fair, we’ll have to wait till the film is out before we can find out.
Who Killed Jesus? The Historical Context of Jesus’ Crucifixion
Approximately one-third of the academic debate over the circumstances of Jesus’ death concerns the subject of who was responsible for his arrest and crucifixion, according to the New Testament. Please be advised that by submitting your email address, you acknowledge and agree that you will get email messages from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) with information on products and services offered by the company and its affiliates. If you no longer wish to receive these email notifications, you may unsubscribe at any time.
- Who was the perpetrator?
- Historically, the Jewish leadership and the Jewish community in Jerusalem have been held accountable to the greatest extent possible.
- Recent scholarly tendencies have turned the focus away from the Greeks and toward the Romans.
- Contemporary academics accept that there is no either-or answer to this topic, but that both Jewish and Roman authorities must have had a role in the killing of Jesus at least in part.
- (The more typical Jewish mode of execution was stoning.) Evidence suggests that the Jewish Sanhedrin did not have the authority to carry out the death penalty at the time of the events described (John 18:31; y.
- 1:1; 7:2).
- At the same hand, what we know about Jesus’ teachings and behavior suggests that he was more likely than the Roman rulers to anger and irritate the Jewish religious leaders.
- Was Jesus executed for political motives or for religious reasons, as the case may be?
- Jesus’ execution was almost certainly motivated by the perceived danger that the religious and political forces of his day sensed in him.
Now, let’s take a look at the reasons behind their acts, their habits, and their policies. Pilate’s and the Romans’ reasons were different. The evidence leads to Jesus’ execution by the Romans as a result of his sedition, or insurrection against the Roman authority, as the conclusion.
- Approximately one-third of the academic debate over the circumstances of Jesus’ death concerns the subject of who was responsible for his arrest and execution, according to the Bible. Please be advised that by submitting your email address, you acknowledge and agree that you will get email messages from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) with information about products and services offered by the company and its affiliates. You have the option of unsubscribing from these emails at any time. You may also contact us at [email protected] if you have any queries about our privacy policies. So, who was to blame? Is it the Jews or the Romans who will win? Since antiquity, the Jewish leadership and the Jewish community in Jerusalem have been tasked with the primary responsibility. Anti-Semitism and violence against Jews have been on the rise throughout history, and this has occasionally had deadly repercussions. Scholars have recently transferred the responsibility to the Romans, in accordance with current scholarly tendencies. As a result of the church’s developing confrontation with the synagogue and its effort to persuade Rome that Christianity was not a threat to the empire, it is said that a propensity to blame the Jews developed in the decades after the crucifixion. Contemporary academics understand that there is no either-or solution to this dilemma, but that both Jewish and Roman authority must have had a part in the killing of Jesus at some point in his life. In the first place, Jesus was crucified, which was a Roman method of death rather than a Jewish one. In the Jewish tradition, stone-throwing was the preferred means of execution. Evidence suggests that the Jewish Sanhedrin did not have the authority to carry out the death penalty at the time of the Holocaust (John 18:31
- Y. Sanh. 1:1
- 7:2). The crucifixion of Jesus was most likely ordered by the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate, and it was carried out by Roman troops. The evidence we have suggests that Jesus was more likely than the Roman rulers to upset and irritate the Jewish religious leaders, based on what we know about his teachings and behavior. With or without the Jewish authorities’ assistance, it is unlikely that the Romans would have taken action against him. Consequently, was Jesus executed primarily for political or religious reasons? A query raised in this manner is inaccurately representative of first-century Judaism, in which religion and politics were inextricably intertwined. Jesus’ murder was almost certainly motivated by the perceived danger that the religious and political forces of his day sensed in him and his followers. Now, let’s take a look at the reasons behind their acts, their habits, and their decisions. Pilate’s and the Romans’ intentions are discussed. The evidence indicates to Jesus’ execution by the Romans as a result of his sedition, or insurrection against the Roman government.
In spite of the fact that this evidence verifies the indictment against Jesus, it begs the puzzling issue of why Jesus was killed in the first place, given that he had nothing in common with other rebels and insurrectionists of his day. Matthew 5:38–48 and Luke 6:27–36 both contain passages in which Jesus encourages his followers to love their adversaries and to react to suffering with acts of compassion. Moreover, he maintained the propriety of paying Caesar’s taxes (Mark 12:14, 17; Matt. 22:17, 21; Luke 20:22, 25).
- 10:34; Luke 22:36, 38).
- The fact that Jesus’ disciples were not picked up and murdered after his death, and were even permitted to create a religious community in Jerusalem, further demonstrates that Jesus was not regarded as instigating a violent revolt at the time.
- More information may be found in the following online course: The Historical and Cultural Context of Jesus’ Life and Ministry What was Pilate thinking when he ordered Jesus’ crucifixion?
- It has been established via various sources that Pilate’s administration was marked by a widespread contempt for his Jewish citizens and an unyielding repression of resistance.
- When Sejanus, an advisor to Emperor Tiberius, installed Pilate as governor of Judea in AD 26, it was a watershed moment in history.
Philip of Alexandria, a Jewish philosopher, provides an excellent illustration of Pilate’s precarious position when he writes about an incident in which Jews protested Pilate’s actions in placing golden shields in Herod’s palace in Jerusalem: “The Jews demonstrated against Pilate’s actions in placing golden shields in Herod’s palace in Jerusalem,” Philo writes.
As a result of his vindictiveness and enraged temper, he found himself in a terrible situation.
The warning from the Jewish leaders, “If you let this guy escape, you are no friend of Caesar,” (John 19:12), would almost certainly have made Pilate angry and fearful at the same time. Pilate was most likely motivated to order Jesus’ death by three factors:
- It appeased the Jewish authorities and, as a result, kept charges against him from reaching Rome. As a result, it preemptively neutralized any threat that Jesus may have posed if the people attempted to proclaim him king. Those who want to be prophets or messiahs were forcefully reminded that Rome would not tolerate any disagreement.
Jesus was met with fierce Jewish hostility. During Jesus’ Galilean career, he came up against a lot of resistance, much of which came from the Pharisees and their scribes. At the beginning of his final week in Jerusalem, Jesus faced strong resistance from the priestly hierarchy, which was under the authority of the high priest, as well as from the Sanhedrin, which was dominated by the Sadducees. The two most important institutions in Judaism were the Torah (the law) and the temple. Jesus appeared to be challenging both the authority of both and the legitimacy of both in the present day, posing a substantial danger to Israel’s leadership.
- Isaias claimed control over the law, disregarded the Sabbath mandate as though it were subordinate to human necessities, and accused the Pharisees of placing their oral law, which was nothing more than human traditions, above God’s instructions.
- The Pharisees, who considered themselves the legitimate protectors of Israel’s traditions, would have been enraged by Jesus’ declaration of the kingdom of God and his calling of twelve disciples, as well as by his proclamation of the kingdom of God.
- If Jesus’ remarks had been spoken in the midst of the seething cauldron of religion and politics that was first-century Palestine, they would have met with fierce hostility.
- In reality, the cleansing of the temple by Jesus is commonly regarded as the pivotal event that prompted the Jewish rulers to take action against the Messiah.
- In Mark’s account of Jesus’ Jewish trial, “false witnesses” are called forward who swear that they heard Jesus proclaim, “I will destroy this man-built temple and in three days will construct another, not made by man,” among other things.
- and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty One, coming on the clouds of heaven.” “I am.” says Jesus.
- According to Mark 14:58–65, the entire assembly demands for his execution (cf.
- 26:55–68; and Luke 22:66–71).
- For example, the Mishnah declares that it is forbidden for the Sanhedrin to convene at night, on the eve of Passover, or at the residence of the high priest during the holiday.
A second hearing would also have been required for a death sentence, and a charge of blasphemy could only be upheld if Jesus had pronounced the divine name of God during the course of the trial (m. Sanh. 4:1; 5:5; 7:5; 11:2). This argument is not persuasive for the following four reasons:
- Jesus was met with Jewish hostility. Pharisees and their scribes were the primary source of resistance to Jesus during his Galilean ministry. He faced particularly fierce resistance during his final week in Jerusalem, which came mostly from the priestly hierarchy, which was under his command, and the Sanhedrin, which was dominated by Sadducees. Two of Judaism’s most important institutions were the Torah (the law) and the temple. Both the authority and the continued legitimacy were questioned by Jesus, who appeared to pose a serious danger to Israel’s political leadership. What the Pharisees were up against and why they were against Jesus As a result of his teaching and conduct in relation to the law and the Sabbath, Jesus was met with a great deal of hostility by the Pharisees and scribes. Using the law as a pretext for human necessities, he ignored the Sabbath mandate as if it were superfluous, and he accused the Pharisees of placing their oral law—mere human traditions—above God’s instructions. His accusations included pride, hypocrisy, and greed on their part, and he cautioned the populace not to act in accordance with their words but against their actions (Matt. 23:3). These activities very definitely did not gain him any friends among the religious authorities of the time period. The Pharisees, who considered themselves the legitimate protectors of Israel’s customs, would have reacted angrily to Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom of God and his calling of twelve disciples, both of which would have stoked their ire. Jesus’ appeal for them to repent, his warning of impending doom, and his acts in establishing a new community of faith all conveyed the message that Israel needed to be restored and that her leaders were illegitimate and corrupt in their positions. As a result, Jesus’ comments would have sparked a fierce debate in the roiling cauldron of religion and politics that was first-century Palestine. What the Sadducees were up against when Jesus came to earth. While Jesus had definitely created enemies prior to his final voyage to Jerusalem, it was the events of the final week that culminated in his crucifixion and death. To be sure, Jesus’ cleansing of the temple was universally acknowledged to be the pivotal event that prompted the Jewish authorities to take action against him. In his attacks on the Sadducees, who represented the religious hierarchy of Jerusalem, he was aiming for their heads. Here’s what happened: in Mark’s account of Jesus’ Jewish trial, “false witnesses” are called forward who claim to have heard him proclaim, “I will destroy this man-built temple and in three days will construct another, not made by man.” He then responds to the high priest’s query, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” to which Jesus replies, “I am. and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty One, coming on the clouds of heaven.” He is furious and accuses Jesus of blasphemy, to which the high priest answers. He is condemned to death by the entire assembly (see also Matt. 26:55–68
- Luke 22:66–71
- Mark 14:58–65). Putting Jesus’ trial in question as historical fact The historical accuracy of this scenario has been questioned by some, who argue it breaches Jewish trial rules. At the Mishnah, it is said that the Sanhedrin is forbidden from meeting at night, on the eve of Passover, or in the residence of the high priest. A second hearing would also have been required for a death sentence, and a charge of blasphemy could only be upheld if Jesus had shouted the divine name of God throughout the course of his speech (m. Sanh. 4:1
- 11:2). Because of the following four factors, this argument is not conclusive
After careful examination, Mark’s trial story makes perfect sense when seen in the context of Jesus’ teaching and healing work. The high priest would have naturally inquired as to whether Jesus was making a messianic claim as a result of his actions in the temple. Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 are two major Old Testament verses that are included into Jesus’ answer. The first says that Jesus will be vindicated by God and exalted to a position at his right hand in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus will be given sovereign authority to judge God’s adversaries, as the later passage says.
- An outlandish declaration like this was considered blasphemous by the body, which considered itself to be God’s authorized leadership, as well as the guards of God’s hallowed temple.
- A reaction was required in the face of such a situation.
- Because of Jesus’ acts in the temple, which the Sanhedrin most likely saw as an act of desecration, as well as his widespread popularity among the people, it became vital to act against him as fast and decisively as possible.
- According to this scenario, the previous remarks of the Pharisees and chief priests in John seem plausible: “If we let him continue on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48).
- Learn more about the Bible by reading it.
- In addition, you’ll receive periodic information about new courses, free videos, and other useful resources.
- The Romans summoned Pilate back to Rome in AD 36, following what Josephus describes as a characteristically harsh military campaign against the Samaritans (Josephus, Ant.18.4.2:85–87).
- The online courseFour Portraits, One Jesus takes a close look at the events of Holy Week, including Jesus’ death and resurrection, in order to better understand them.
View a free trailer here: This post is taken from information available in Mark Strauss’ online course, Four Portraits, One Jesus, which he teaches on a regular basis.
Why was Jesus crucified?
When seen in the context of Jesus’ mission, Mark’s trial story makes a lot of sense when read more closely. Naturally, the high priest would have inquired as to whether Jesus was making a messianic claim as a result of his behavior in the temple. With Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13, Jesus responds to two important Old Testament texts. The first says that Jesus will be vindicated by God and exalted to a position at his right hand in the kingdom of Heaven. The latter implies that Jesus will be given sovereign authority to judge God’s adversaries.
- An outlandish declaration like this was considered blasphemous by the body, which considered itself to be God’s authorized leadership, as well as the guards of God’s sacred temple.
- A answer was required to such a challenge.
- Together with his widespread popularity among the populace, Jesus’ activities in the temple, which were likely regarded as sacrilege by the Sanhedrin, made it vital to act swiftly and firmly to retaliate against him.
- According to this scenario, the previous comments of the Pharisees and chief priests in John’s gospel seem plausible: “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48).
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- The Romans summoned Pilate back to Rome in AD 36, following what Josephus describes as a characteristically merciless military campaign against the Samaritans (Josephus, Antiquity 18.4.285–87).
- A thorough examination of the events of Holy Week, including Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, is provided in the online courseFour Portraits, One Jesus.
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Why did the crowds shout, “Crucify Him!” when Pilate wanted to release Jesus?
QuestionAnswer As Pilate said three times in Luke 23:4, 14–15, and 22, when the Sanhedrin brought Jesus before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, he was unable to discover any fault with Jesus. Pilate was looking for a means to liberate Jesus at the end of the trial (John 19:12). According to tradition, the governor would release a prisoner during the Passover celebration, so Pilate manipulated the situation to placate the throng of Jewish officials who had assembled and ensure Jesus’ release by offering them the choice between a condemned felon called Barabbas and Jesus.
Surprised that they would release a seasoned criminal, Pilate said, “What will I do with the one you name the king of the Jews?” Pilate’s response: (Matthew 15:12) “Crucify him!” yelled the assembled throng.
It’s a good thing that Pilate was perplexed by the crowd’s reaction, for only a week before, the people of Jerusalem had greeted Jesus’ entry into the city with palm branches and shouts of “Hosanna!” (See Matthew 21:1–11 for further information.) What Pilate may have been unaware of was the extent to which the religious and political authorities despised and resisted Jesus and his ministry.
On several times, not only did Jesus call them out on their great hypocrisy (see Matthew 23; Mark 7:1–14; Luke 20:45–47), but He also claimed to be God, which was considered blasphemy by the unbelieving teachers of the law (see Mark 14:60–64; Matthew 23).
They could only be satisfied by His death.
Torture on the crucifixion may extend for hours, and the execution of Jesus in this manner was likely appealing to the religious authorities who resented Him so bitterly at the time of His death.
In Matthew 27:1–2, it was still early in the morning when Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, who was the only one who had the right to command Jesus’ death.
When Pilate inquired as to what they want to be done to Jesus, the multitude, once again swayed by the chief priests, erupted in a rousing “Crucify Him!” chant.
He flogged Jesus and subsequently handed Him over to the Romans for crucifixion.
It’s important to remember that not everyone who attended the Triumphal Entry was there to celebrate the Lord’s arrival.
Consequently, the Jewish authorities were outraged (Matthew 21:10).
It’s possible that some of the same people who sang “Hosanna!” were also among those who chanted “Crucify Him!” but we don’t know for sure at this point.
It is also likely that the multitude that had come before Pilate at such early hour had been collected and bribed by the Jewish leaders to appear before him.
That was caused by our sin.
Throughout the years, God worked out His plan to send a Savior, and that plan culminated in the person of Jesus Christ: God’s own Son who took on the characteristics of a perfect God-man in order to bear the penalty for sin on His own shoulders.
It was through the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood that God’s promise to mankind to provide a Savior was fulfilled, and the New Covenant was sealed (Luke 22:20).
Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) “Crucify Him!” the masses sang when Pilate attempted to free Jesus from his imprisonment.
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Why Did the Crowd Turn on Jesus and Yell “Crucify Him”?
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Their Opportunity to Crucify Him
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