At times it is hard not to chuckle when I hear people having a heated discussion about who killed Jesus. Some say it was Pilate that killed Him while others blame the Jews for killing Him. Further still, others blame Judas Iscariot – for he was the one that betrayed Jesus into the hands of the Sanhedrin. So which is it? Is it the Romans (Pilate/soldiers) or the Jews (Judas or the Sanhedrin)?
To address this question, we have to look at the purpose for which Christ came into the world and the reason he was called to this purpose by God. The bible tells us that the purpose for which Christ was born was to redeem mankind from spiritual death through his death on the cross. In other words, he was born for the express purpose of dying. Here is how the author of Hebrew puts it:
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil – Hebrews 2:14
So it is clear that Jesus had to die! Now, a question that can be asked is when did Jesus have to die? Would he have lived longer if someone had not decided to kill Him? That answer is no! Here is why:
Prophet Daniel had already prophesied that 483 years (69 weeks) were going to pass between the time Cyrus was going to release the children of Israel to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and when the Messiah would die!
Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The streetshall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself – Daniel 9:25 – 26
Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years. Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week… – Genesis 29:27 -28
By the time Jesus started his ministry in his 30’s, he only had about 3 years before the 483 years would be up. Since Jesus came to fulfill prophesy and He mentioned that nothing written in the Old Testament books would pass away but be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18), we see that Jesus was determined and obligated to die 3 years after his ministry began.
Note: The 62 weeks or 434 years refers to the end of the period of the Old Testament until the death of Jesus. There were 400 years of silence between the Old Testament days and when angel Gabriel spoke to Mary about her pregnancy; another 9 months until Jesus was born; another 30 years until Jesus was released unto His ministry – the age when a Jew was old enough to be considered a priest. A simple addition (400 + 0.75 + 30) gives us about 431 years. Hence, Jesus’ ministry had to be 3 years long for him to fulfill the prophesy written in the book of Daniel.
So then who really killed Him? In a sense, no one did! He gave himself over willingly to the guards who came to arrest Him. He gave Himself over because his time was fast approaching. Before his time, no one could touch him even when they tried. If His time had not come, He could have easily escaped from their midst as He had done before (Luke 4:29 -30). We know He gave Himself over willingly because of the following passage of scripture:
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground – John 18:4-6
When we examine why Jesus had to come die in the first place, we see that it was to become sin for us so that we would become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He had to come because we all fall short of the glory (Romans 3:23) and our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). In this sense, we all killed Him.
Food for Thought: Jesus killed himself because of his love for us because we gave him no choice in the matter.