We know from what we have looked at that the Israelite leaders were looking for a way to hand Jesus over and have Him killed. We know that the person who handed Jesus over to them was Judas, for 30 pieces of silver. But the Israelites, by Roman law, were not allowed to put anyone to death. Matthew’s gospel points out two jealous plots by Israel, to take his life (1) by Herod the Great and (2) by the chief priests; both felt their authority under threat so they sought to have him killed.
Jesus is betrayed by the kiss of a friend and handed over to a large, armed mop from the chief priests and elders of Israel (Matthew 26:47). He is then taken to the high priest and the Sanhedrin (each gospel gives a different perspective) but Jesus finally ends being handed over to Pontius Pilate who was a man of ambition; whose sole goal was to maintain law and order by any means.
Pilate is backed into a corner. He has repeatedly stated Jesus’s innocence and has very clearly tried to stay middle-of-the-road, not wanting to kill Jesus, but at the same time, wanting to pacify the Jews calling for His death. He tried half measures by offering to have Him whipped/scourged and he tried to shift responsibility to Herod, but all of this to no avail. He then tried to release him, as it was customary to release a prisoner at Passover, but the crowd wasn’t having it.
In the end, as Luke 23:23-25, tells us it was their shouts, their demand, their will, that won the day. Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but the crowd won. How? By some sly and simple words shouted by the crowd, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” (John 19:12). It was fear that drove his decision to hand Him over to be crucified.
So, who delivered Jesus up to be crucified? Not the Jews out of envy, not Judas out of greed, and not Pilate out of fear… nor can we blame the Romans who pounded the nails or the soldiers who scourged Him. No, it was you and I. Because one of the last things Jesus said was, “forgive them for they no not what they do…” (Luke 23:34).
Our sin had to be dealt with and it was the love of God that sent His one and only Son to pay the penalty. The Cross shows the love of God for mankind and his hatred of sin that separates us from Him. In it we see the justice and love of God for His creation. So, in the end, it was God’s love that crucified and killed Jesus, just as it was our sin. And it is the Resurrection that proves the forgiveness and eternal life we have under the New Covenant.
It is that Covenant that was initiated with the blood shed and the life given for us. And it is in this day, the day of salvation, we as believers have eternal life in bodies that are perishing, mortal bodies (Romans 8:8-11).
What kind of bodies will we have? When will this take place (see John 6:39, 40, 44). Because we believe Jesus died and rose, we await our final salvation- the resurrection of our bodies – on the last day. On that day, our present, perishable bodies, dishonored, humiliated by sin, weak, natural, and mortal (because of Adam’s sin), will be raised, imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual, and immortal because of God’s love for us.
God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to a sacrifice. He accomplished God’s will for you and for me on that bloody old cross. And it is the Resurrection that proves that believers will receive new resurrection bodies.
For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father.1 Corinthians 15:22-24
- Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins, that you have eternal life?
- Have you entered into that new covenant with God?