Why Kill Jesus?

For brevity we will dispense with the solid studies already done over the centuries dealing with the spiritual battle between the Devil, God the Father, and Jesus that occurred during the time leading up to the crucifixion and day of crucifixion.  We will also dispense with the reasons why the Romans consented to the unlawful condemnation and judgment of Jesus.

Instead I will focus this posting on the purely ‘human’ motives behind the actions of the chief priests, Pharisees, and scribes.  Why did they want Jesus killed?  Certainly, it was not because they understood He was the Christ.

Before I get into the motives of the Jewish leaders, it is important to note that the Devil did not actually torture and kill Jesus.  However, it is clear he was working behind the scenes in providing reasons, justifications, causes, fears, and motivations for the people who were responsible for Jesus condemnation and crucifixion.  He doesn’t ‘force’ anyone to do anything.  He does provide the ‘fuel’, however, in various forms such as fear, thoughts of jealousy, greed, vengeance, pride, power, and a host of other human vices and weaknesses.

So, for the Jewish leaders to take Jesus, try Him, condemn Him, and sentence Him to death, there must have been sufficient reasons.  The reasons don’t have to be true, accurate, or substantial, but they provide the justification for the actions.

While the Jewish leaders had many reasons for wanting Jesus dead, there are a few that I want to cover in this posting that don’t get much ‘air time’, primarily because they are tucked away in a few areas of scripture that I’ve never heard taught about, or preached about.  By doing this I will give you something to think about, and search out on your own.

Probably the biggest motivating factor behind the Jewish leadership’s desire to have Jesus killed was simply this – FEAR.

In order to understand their fear requires us to know a little about their situation.  Israel was under Rome’s thumb.  This meant that the Roman army, governors, and civil leadership was run and controlled by mostly Romans.  However, not everything was directly controlled by the Romans.  The Romans controlled the Jews by creating alliances with the Jewish leadership – priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducee’s, and of course, the High Priest himself.  Through these alliances the Romans could indirectly control the Jewish nation.  Not that this was a ‘love’ relationship, by any means.  It was a relationship of ‘convenience’ and ‘necessity’, fueled by greed, power, position, and of course, convenient necessity.  A means to an end.

Fear of losing this relationship with Rome, and its leaders, was one of the major contributing factors to why Jesus was killed.  Can I substantiate this claim?  John 11:47-53 explains this better than I can.  Basically, there was a real fear that if Jesus was allowed to continue that those in Jewish leadership would lose their relationship with Rome, and its leadership, and all the ‘perks’ that went along with that.

What kind of ‘perks’ are you talking about?

Consider just one fact – the High Priest lived in a palace!!  Where in the scripture do we read that the priests, or even High Priest, lived in a palace?  That’s right – nowhere.  But, given the close relationship with Roman power, a palace will do rather well.  No wonder Jewish leadership was fearful of Jesus.  He threatened:

  1. Their relationship with Rome leadership
  2. Their high lifestyle and benefits – think palace…
  3. Their control over the Jewish people

In brief, Jesus threatened to turn their world upside down, and therefore, must be stopped at all costs.

Of course, all this was a fulfillment of scripture, and part of the master plan of God.  But, from a strictly ‘human motivation’ standpoint, it is interesting to see why the Jewish leadership was so intent on seeing Jesus dead.

In order for the Devil to get people to do what he wants them to, he must manufacture a plausible ‘reason’.  He must give them a reason why any action makes sense.  These reasons tend to have roots in the ‘dark side’ of humanity – greed, lust, pride, envy, jealousy, anger – from which thoughts come the actions: murder, theft, violence, etc…

It was insufficient for the Devil to plant in the Jewish leadership’s minds that Jesus was simply a ‘dangerous’ man.  No, it had to also include the fear that Jesus, if allowed to continue, would turn everything upside down, and disrupt their relationship with Roman power and all its associated privileges.  After all, the High Priest would be very unhappy if he had to give up his ‘palace’….

One Response to “Why Kill Jesus?”

  1. beamcguire@gmail.com Says:

    Excellent blog. Gave me a lot of food for thought! Blessings…

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