Executed for what he stood for, Jesus Christ represented a real challenge to both Romans and first class citizens in the city of Jerusalem. His main theme, the coming of the kingdom of God, obviously carried a destructive tone. The message of the coming kingdom of God opposed the way business was carried out by Roman colonists and aristocracies in Jerusalem.
Many scholars propose that the Romans’ Pilate involved himself in the execution of Jesus because Romans were misled by Jews to see Jesus as a bad person. However, one can see that it was what Jesus stood for that got him crucified. The business in Jerusalem was for the Romans, and Jesus was not pleased with it, so there is no doubt that Romans did not like Jesus. And if one takes this fragment to be true that “It is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed,” (John 11:50) one can believe that Jews handed Jesus over to Romans so that they might be spared from destruction.
Jesus became a worse enemy of business, so the only thing businessmen could do was to make up false accusations against him so that he might be removed from them. And for such data, I also believe that the Romans’ involvement in Jesus’ execution is clearly manifested in John 11:50.
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Jesus was also a threat to Caiaphas. Being a common enemy to Caiaphas and Romans, Jesus had to be killed in order for Caiaphas and Pilate to remain in business and to be friends.
What if Jesus was not killed or handed over? “The nation would have been destroyed,” Caiaphas alleged. Here, one can see that the death of Jesus had to take place in order for the aristocracies to enjoy their economics’ freedom.
If we can guess with certainty what the high priest Caiaphas meant by “the nation will be destroyed unless Jesus dies,” we can come to a reasonable conclusion. And anyone can see the drama that the Romans of the first century played behind Jesus’ execution.
There are two lines of argument here that I want to explore. These two lines of one argument come from the verse mentioned earlier in the middle of the gospel of John.
First, if the phrase nation referred to Israel, then the high priest lied because the city of Jerusalem was immensely destroyed by Romans some years after the death of Christ nonetheless. Or perhaps the high priest Caiaphas desired to get rid of Jesus, but there were no other ways other than saying, with exaggeration, “it is better for you to have one man die for the nation than to have the whole nation destroyed.”
Second, if Caiaphas meant the whole nation as the all inhabitants of the earth, then he might have as well understood the theme of Jesus’ death that Jesus had to die for something.
Taking either argument, one cannot deny that Jesus’ death meant liberation from something to both Jews and Christians.
Another line can also be drawn from the same words of Caiphas that “the whole nation will be destroyed…,” Who was then the destroyer? If the destroyers of the whole nation were Romans, then the whole nation that the high priest Caiaphas talked about was Israel. But why would Romans destroy Israel, which they did, when Jesus was handed over to them? What then was the benefit for Caiaphas if he had one man called Jesus crucified for the people and the nation was also destroyed?
Caiaphas did not mean what he said for his words are unnecessarily abstruse. The whole nation would have been destroyed by the cosmic forces if Jesus did not die for all of us.
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Christians affirm that Christ died for their sins. Like Caiaphas, we say if Christ did not die for us, the whole nation wouldn’t have been redeemed from the plight boat of sin.
Jesus’ execution did not only affirm Caiaphas and Pilate’s friendship, it has become a unity for all people who affirm that Jesus died for them.
Theologian William P. Loewe affirms that Jesus’ ministry of the nearness of the coming of the kingdom undermined the world of the day and also struck directly at the center of that world.
Several days have passed since I was admitted at Scripps Hospital. One time I was praying for my own healing. I then asked God for the well-being of those other persons who were badly experiencing affliction in the hospital. But as I thought over about what I asked God, I remember Jesus’ works of healing. I asked myself, wouldn’t it be great if Jesus showed up said to all of the patients to get up and go home?
But something else came into my mind, a second thought. What would people who take care of the sick and provide them with medicines say to Jesus? “You are destroying our business or we do not want to see you anymore.” I see myself saying something like the above phrases to Jesus. There is no doubt that our today world still sees the message of the coming kingdom as a threat.
People of greater wealth suppose that they are excluded from such a kingdom. One gospel says that the admission for rich people into the kingdom of God is not easy and even illegitimate to attempt. Jesus’ message of the kingdom discourages rich people from what they desire and it undermines them as well. A wealthier man who has a lump sum of dollars in his bank account wouldn’t be pleased with such a message “the rich and the poor are the same.” We, humans, always want to be praised with what we have. “A poor man is he who is dead” was a common saying in my community. And if anyone says that the rich and the poor are the same, he is also saying that the rich man is he who is dead.
Jesus’ message of the kingdom was such unpleasant news to Romans. It is still against the first class folks nowadays. Though Jesus is not present in body these days, people say in their hearts, upon hearing the gospels that oppose what they do, “let him be crucified!”
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If Romans were the first classes in Jerusalem, it is beyond doubt that they were responsible for Jesus’ execution. Jesus stood for what was clearly against the Romans’ business; such as his symbolic attack on the system that supported the wealth and status of the priestly aristocracy, a group that favored Romans.
The Pharisees felt that Jesus was drawing much attention from the crowds and especially in Jerusalem, so they had to deal with him before they would get out of business. There was nothing that the aristocracies and Romans could do to stay in business. The only thing they could do was to execute Jesus.
“Who killed Jesus exactly” is always a hot issue in religious circle. Some scholars even associate the death of 6 million Israelites in German with Jesus’ execution. Some Christians have wanted to kill Jewish people as a way to avenge Jesus. But all these are meaningless to Christians who have some understandings of why Jesus had to die. Apostle Paul would rather say the gospel is that Christ died and is raised.
If Jesus came to redeem us, what then should we expect would have happened to him? We are even conditioned to praise whoever killed Jesus because God sent His only son to die for us.
Jesus was sent to be killed by someone on this earth, which means someone from somewhere had to help put Jesus on the cross. He did not come to die on his bed like us or be poisoned by food like us.
He came to free us from the plight boat of sin. “For his wound, the humanity is healed,” exudes one verse. Without the blood of Jesus poured out, there is no remission. It was the final attempt for God to rescue the humanity and to restore his relationship with humankind.
We, Christians, are not required to blame anyone on Jesus’ death. And if a human’s source should ever be blamed on Jesus’ execution, then the modern Italians are no better than the Jewish people of the first century. But we simply need to have faith in his death, believing that we no longer belong to sin, but have been crucified once with him on the cross.