One fact to keep in mind when deliberating on the crucifixion of Christ – Many a false prophet, false messiah, had come and gone before Jesus.
The Trial of Jesus in a nutshell:
The Sanhedrin, the supreme religious body in the Land of Israel, under pressure from Jewish leaders, accused Jesus of blasphemy because He likened himself to God. John 5, 18; “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” They were unable to pronounce Jesus guilty because witnesses were unable to get their stories straight to collaborate. By manipulation of Jesus’ rebuttle to the charges, the council had falsely, “condemned him to be worthy of death”. (Mk 14:64) The Sanhedrin, under Roman occupation did not have the authority to inflict Capital punishment, instead, they handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate on a trumped up charge of treason. Caring not a wit on a charge of blasphemy and knowing the charges of treason against him were false, Pilate did not want anything to do with a judgement on Jesus. Pilate realized he was caught between two diametrical outcomes. Sentence Jesus to death against his conscience, or, Let Jesus go free and bear the wrath of the Jewish authority, and, let Jesus go free and bear the wrath of Rome. Pilate’s way out was to have the Jewish people give proclamation on Jesus themselves by offering them a choice. Barabbas, the freedom fighter already judged, convicted and sentenced as a rebel, or Jesus, the pacifist King of the Jews, in his stead. We all know their choice.
Did Pilate take the easy way out, deny his conscience? Was Pilate’s hope in setting Jesus free?
Would there have been a crowd of Jews assembled at the palace of Pilate ready to condemn Jesus unless the Sanhedrin had first rallied them to the cause?
Was all this really the “Plan of God”? If so, is anyone ultimately guilty for who can change or alter the plans of God?
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
This statement of Jesus on the cross begs several questions.
- Was Jesus was referring to:
- the Roman authorities – Pontius Pilate?
- the soldiers who carried out the execution?
- the Sanhedrin who had Jesus arrested and handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate for trial?
- the Jews who called out for Barabbas to be released instead?
- perhaps all the above?
- perhaps all people for all time fulfilling Jesus mission to be the sacrificial lamb for the sins of the whole world?
- Would they still have crucified Jesus if they did know what they were doing?
- If Jesus had been set free by Pontius Pilate, what then would be the consequence? Would prophecy have been fulfilled?
- What is the significance that Jesus was crucified between the two thieves, two tried and convicted sinners?
- What is the significance that Jesus was crucified in substitution for Barabbas, an enemy of Rome, a fighter for the Kingdom of Israel?
- Why did not Jesus’ disciples rally to His defense?
- Why did the learned leaders of the Jewish nation not believe that Jesus was the Promised Messiah?
The common belief in the Messiah at the time of Jesus ministry was that when the Savior came he would destroy all oppression and the Jewish people would live in the promised land of plenty and freedom. Even John the Baptist asked for positive assurance.
Jesus reassured John the Baptist by telling John’s disciples to explain what they have seen and heard:
“Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn’t reject me because of what I do.” (Matt 11:4-6 CEV)
Jesus own disciples were still very much in doubt until after the resurrection of Jesus and even then, Thomas still had doubts.
Many times when Jesus performed a healing he sent that person to the priest or the person was brought before the Pharisees. “But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
John 9, A man born blind. Matthew 8:1-4, Healing of leprosy. Matthew 9:1-8, Jesus Heals and Forgives a Paralytic, scribes present. Mark 7:31-37, Jesus Heals a Deaf Man. Mark 5:37-43, Jesus raises the daughter of a Synagog leader. Luke 4:31-37, In the synagogue of Capernaum Jesus drives out an evil spirit.
Even with all this evidence, coupled with “Preaching with Authority”, that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus was still crucified and yet many still did not believe even after the resurrection.
There are many accounts and interpretations of what is to come at the end of this “Age of Grace”. If the learned in scripture and prophesy could not (or would not) connect Jesus to prophesy and recognize him as the promised Messiah, – How should we therefore view the end times prophesies given in the Bible when “Christ will come again to judge both the quick and the dead“?