Doctrine Theology

Why Did They Kill Him?

When we think of Jesus we think of a man who helped many.  He healed the lame, fed the hungry and received the rejected.  Then why would they kill him?

 Ticking off the Authorities

Though the Jewish authorities were already angered by the words and works of Jesus, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem solidified their hatred.  All four gospels record that he came riding into Jerusalem upon a donkey, beside a colt (Zech. 9:9) signifying messiahship but not as the warrior-king they expected.[1]  Upon arrival the entire city was in an uproar.  They began to cry, “Hosanna to the King!” (Matt. 21:1-11) which would have irritated the Roman leadership.  The religious leadership asked Jesus to silence His worshippers but He would not.  Immediately Jesus entered the Temple cast out the money-changers and completely disrupted Temple business (Matt. 21:12-13).  From the debates over Christ’s authority were Christ schooled the religious elite (Matt. 21:23-22:14) to public ridicule of he pronounced upon the Pharisees and Scribes (Matt. 23:1-39) the Jewish leadership of the day was finished with this Jesus of Nazareth.  Therefore, they plot to murder the Messiah (Matt. 26:1-5).

 Trial of the Messiah

While praying in a garden the Temple guards came to arrest Jesus Christ (Matt. 26:47-53).  They immediately took Him to Annas the former high priest who sent him to his son-in-law Caiaphas to stand before the Sanhedrin were the brought wild accusations against this holy man (Matt. 26:57-68).  Finally, because Jesus would answer none of these ridiculous charges (Isa. 53:7) Caiaphas asked Him plainly if He was the Christ.  Jesus answered in the affirmative and Caiaphas responded by screaming and tearing his garments.  The Sanhedrin lost control and physically beat the Lord, waiting for the cock to crow that symbolized a new day had dawned so they could officially decree his death (Matthew 27:1).  For it was technically illegal for them to hold court in the middle of the night.[2]

Because the Jewish leadership did not have legal authority to put someone to death they took Jesus before Pilate who saw no threat in Him (Luke 23:1-5).  Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas because Christ was from Galilee and therefore, under the jurisdiction of King Herod.  Herod, a vile man wanted nothing more than entertainment from Jesus the miracle worker and subsequently sent Jesus back to Pilate (Luke 23:6-12).  With Jesus before him once again, Pilate was faced with the option to set an innocent man free or satisfy the bloodlust of the crowd and thereby preserve his political prosperity.  He chose the later and sent Christ to be beaten with whips and crucified (John 19:1-13).

 Truth about Unbelievers

I suppose that some do not want to see the truth.  Pilate asked, “What is truth?”  Pilate could not see truth as it was staring him in the face.  He had a career to protect.  He could not believe on the one his own soul longed to embrace (John 18:33-38; 19:9-12).  The Jewish vast majority of the leadership had grown weary of Christ’s endless words and disruptive actions.  They had their authority, they had their religion and they did need some carpenter from Nazareth coming in and messing things up.  So, they rejected their Messiah.  How sad it is that there are still many who are unwilling to receive Christ because they view Him as an intruder who will take their authority and control their lives.  They would rather Jesus would be silenced and the thought of him wiped clean from the earth.   Knowing the truth, they have rejected their Savior. (Rom. 1:18-21).

Please share your thoughts or comments. 


[1] Thomas D. Lea & David Alan Black, The New Testament, Its Background and Message (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2003), 247.

[2] Thomas D. Lea & David Alan Black, The New Testament, Its Background and Message (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2003), 264-5.

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