Who's to Blame for the Death of Jesus Christ?

John MacArthur, Grace to You

Who's to Blame for the Death of Jesus Christ?

People have for centuries argued about who was to blame for killing Jesus. Sadly, some have even used the issue to justify anti-Semitism, blaming the entire Jewish race for the death of jesus christ.

But ultimately Jesus was not a victim of either Rome or the Jewish leaders. The apostle Peter says in Acts 2:23 that Jesus was "delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God." The Jewish leaders and the Roman official who carried out His crucifixion undeniably bear guilt for the sin of what they did, but God Himself had foreordained how and when Jesus would die.

Yes, the Jewish leaders of that day who condemned Him were culpable. They plotted, concocted false charges against Him, and blackmailed the Roman governor Pontius Pilate into carrying out their will. They were by no means innocent.

And the Roman government must share the guilt. Those who represented Rome in Jerusalem set aside justice to appease an angry crowd. They executed an innocent man.

But at the core, Jesus' death was an act of the Son's submissive obedience to the Father's will. And Jesus Himself was in absolute control. He said, "I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father" (John 10:17).

Do not think for a moment that anyone could kill Jesus against His will. The divine plan could never be short-circuited by human or satanic plots. Jesus even told Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11). Mobs tried to murder Jesus. They once sought to hurl Him off a cliff (Luke 4:29) and repeatedly attempted to stone Him (John 8:59; John 10:31). Again and again He simply (and supernaturally) passed through their midst because His time had not yet come (cf. John 7:30; John 8:20).

When the hour of Jesus' death finally did come, He knew it (Matthew 26:18). Fully comprehending all it would entail in terms of the pain and agony of bearing the punishment for sinners, He nevertheless submitted Himself willingly. John 18:4 says when the soldiers came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth, and said to them 'Whom do you seek?'" (emphasis added). He willingly surrendered Himself to them. That was His hour, the time foreordained by God.

John 19:30 says, "When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!'" The Greek expression is only one word-tetelestai. It was not the groan or curse of a victim; it was the proclamation of a victor. It was a shout of triumph: "IT IS FINISHED!"

The work of redemption was done. He did all that the law required and perfectly accomplished all that the Father had given Him to do. He made full atonement for sins-everything was done; nothing was left. The ransom was settled. The wages of sin were paid. Divine justice was satisfied. The work of Christ was fully accomplished. The Lamb of God had taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29). There was nothing more on earth for Him to do except die so that He might rise again.


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