Who Killed the Messiah?
We very often hear the accusation: “The Jews killed Jesus Christ!”
Yes, 2000 years ago some of the Jewish people, as political enemies of the Kingdom of God and subjects of Rome, rejected their Messiah Yeshua, known erroneously by the Christian masses as “Jesus.” Yeshua was handed over to the Romans by a political (not religious) Sanhedrin and crucified for treason. The Procurator (or, prefect) of Judaea, Pontius Pilatus, ensured the titulus on the cross (or, more correctly, the tree) spelt out His crime precisely: treason. “This is Yeshua the Nazarene King of the Jews.” Our Lord Yeshua was accused of making Himself king without Caesar’s appointment (Mt 27.37; Mk 15.26; Lk 23.38 cf Jn 19.15b). In Roman eyes, Yeshua had challenged the authority and seat of Rome. Crucifixion was the cruel punish-ment especially designed for rebels and revolutionaries who dared to defy the Roman Emperor
These are facts of recorded history. What most fail to realise, of course, is that crucifixion was the Roman method of dealing with those who opposed Roman authority. Jewish religious or political powers never crucified criminals. Stoning to death was the proscribed Mosaic pronouncement for blasphemy and the only form of capital punishment allowed to be initiated by Israel (Lev 24.15-18), which the hired Jewish mob carried out while Our Lord hung on the tree (Jn 18.31; 19.7). The political San-hedrin handed Yeshua over to the Romans.
After the excruciating ordeal of a scourging, a “cohort” (600 Romans) was released onto Yeshua (Mk 15.16-20 Greek). The Romans then crucified Him. The hired Jewish mob stoned their Messiah with a continual barrage of rocks and flint at the site of the crucifixion on the Mount of Olives. The Roman centurion finally delivered the writhing, screaming, grotes-quely twisted, tormented Lord of Glory by plunging his short-sword into the abdomen of the charismatic revolutionary of the Kingdom of God (Mt 27.49 Greek mss prior to circa 510 C.E.).
But it was our sins that took His life. Your sins and my own. Our sins killed haMashiach (the Messiah). “The Messiah died for our sins” says Rav Shaul (Rom 5.8; 1 Cor 15.3).
Understand this. Infinite Intelligence’s plan and purpose (as far as human beings is concerned) is ever and always a plan of salvation, of redemption.
- GOD HAS NO OTHER PLAN FOR HUMANKIND.
All throughout the Scriptures we are confronted by this plan (really, “intent,” for koine Greek never had a word for “plan”). God’s intentions and His actions are ONE and the same. And nobody has ever successfully challenged God’s intentions. “For who has resisted His intention [Gk. boulema]?” (Rom 9.19). Messiah agreed with God ahead of time to die for the sins of the entire world. It was ALL worked out in eternity PRIOR to the establishment of our planet. Sin’s and death’s entrance into Eden was absolutely no accident! Nor was the crucifixion (Acts 3.18; 4.27, 28). God must take (and does take) ultimate respons- ibility for the crucifixion and death of the Messiah. Yeshua was “slaughtered of God” and “it pleased the LORD [Yahweh] to crush Him” writes Isaiah (Isa 53.4,10 Heb).
- While God is responsible, humankind remains accountable.
Again, OUR sins took the Jewish Messiah’s life! If it was our sins that took His life, then just what is sin? The apostle John answers forthrightly. “Sin is the transgression of Torah” (1 Jn 3.4). Sin is lawlessness. This has proven to be an altogether unpopular message, but one that is authentic nonetheless.
Understand this, too! Keeping the Torah (scrupulously and meticulously observing the law of God), will never warrant or
gain righteousness — right standing or acceptance in the sight of Deity. That alone was entirely accomplished by Messiah’s holy history: in His perfect life, death and resurrection. Salvation is accomplished by Messiah alone on our behalf. As a con-sequence, there will never be condemnation for the Messianic believer (Rom 8.1 Greek).
- As such, right standing is imputed to us.
Nothing any of us can do can add ANYTHING to the perfect Work of Messiah on our behalf. Indeed, Torah observance is utterly useless if we are even attempting, by its faithful observance, to maintain God’s expectations of a good relationship with Him. But, upon repentance of our sins (disobedience to God’s instruction), obedience to God through the indwelling power of the holy Spirit (Rua’ch haKodesh — the Spirit of Holiness) is necessary to develop holiness, a life of sanctifi-cation. For, the mind of Messiah is to indwell us (Phil 2.5). Our obedience to God in grateful response to the finished salvific Work of Messiah for us (and on our behalf) is an important decision which will enable us to align with the character image God wants us to develop. The sanctified life is illusion if we are not ready to obey God’s will for our life. Those who think otherwise are deceived (1 Jn 2.3,4; 3.22-24; 5.1-3). Sin is not to reign in our mortal body (Rom 6.12).
Each Messianic believer has a potentially awesome individual blueprint awaiting fulfilment.