The death of Jesus is among the most painful deaths ever recorded in the Bible. While most of the people who died in the Bible deserved their death, Jesus did not deserve to die the way he did, as he was of no sin. This story usually raises the central question among many Bible readers, “who killed Jesus?”
There is no doubt that many groups were involved in Jesus’s death. To start with, John 3:16 states that God gave the world his only son to die for our sins, showing that human beings played a part in killing Jesus. Secondly, according to Mathew 26:3-4, we see that Jewish religious leaders of Israel plotted the killing of Jesus. Lastly, the Romans killed Jesus through their Roman governor Pontius Pilate by crucifying him, as crucifixion was a Roman method of execution, as stated in Mathew 27:27-37.
So, did the Romans kill Jesus? Did the Jews kill Jesus? Is there biblical evidence of who killed Jesus? Stick around to get answers to this information and more
Did Romans kill Jesus?
Although Romans were not behind the plotting to kill Jesus, several Bible verses suggest that they killed Him. Jesus was killed by crucifixion, a method some Bible scholars suggest was only carried out by the Romans after being authorized by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who sentenced Jesus. Below is how the roman participated in killing Jesus.
After the chief priests and the elders had succeeded in arresting Jesus, they took him and handed him over to Pilate, the Roman governor. Mathew 27:1-2 “Early in the morning all the chief priest and the elders made their plans against Jesus to put him to death. They put him in chains, led him off, and handed him over to Pilate, the Roman governor”.
According to Mathew 27:18, Pilate did not want to be part of Jesus’s killing, as he knew that the Jewish authority had handed Jesus to him out of jealousy and not that he had committed any sin. “He knew very well that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.” Trying to save him, Pilate asked the crowd that had gathered around if they wanted him to release Jesus Barabbas or Jesus the Messiah, as it was the tradition that the roman governor releases one prisoner that the crowd asked him off at every Passover festival.
The debate of if Barabbas or Jesus was to be released continued for a while, as the Jewish elders and chief priests continued to incite the public for Jesus to be crucified. Unable to make his own decision, Pilate washed his hands in water, a sign that he was not taking responsibility for the death of Jesus, just as Mathew 27:24 states. “When Pilate saw that it was no use to go on but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!”
Although the roman governor had all the powers to release Jesus or prevent his crucifixion, he handed him over to the public for him to be crucified. Moreover, Jesus could have set himself free, as he had the power to. He already knew that his time to die for the sins of humankind had come, as recorded earlier in Luke 22:41-42 “Then he went off from them about the distance of a stone’s throw and knelt and prayed. Father, he said, “If you will take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, however, but your will be done”.
Some Bible scholars imply that the Roman soldiers nailed Jesus’s feet and hands and erected the cross where Jesus was crucified. The book of Luke 23:22-36 can justify this as the soldiers led the crowd and Jesus to where he was crucified. Luke 23:26 says, “The soldiers led Jesus away, and as they were going, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon who was coming into the city from the country.” In chapter 23, verse 36, the book of Luke states that the soldiers went ahead to mock Jesus after crucifying him. “The soldiers also mocked him: they came up to him, offered him cheap wine, and said, “save yourself if you are the King of Jews!”
Did the Jews kill Jesus?
The Jews did not directly kill Jesus but were behind all the plotting that led to His death. Jesus had already talked about his death many times and had also spoken about his betrayal by the chief priests in Mathew 20:18-19,
“Listen, he told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and then hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him, whip him, and crucify him, but three days later, he will be raised to life.”
From Jesus’s statement above, Jesus already knew that the chief priests and teachers of the law were the ones that would condemn him to death and would only hand him over to the Gentiles to finish the job for them. Fast forward to Mathew 26:3-5 we see how the chief priests and the elders secretly plot the arrest of Jesu that would lead to his death. “Then the chief priests and the elders met in the palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest, and made plans to arrest Jesus secretly and put him to death. They said we must not do it during the festival, “or the people will riot.”
The Chief priest and elders could arrest Jesus after Judas, one of his disciples, betrayed him for 30 silver coins. Jesus was then arrested by a large crowd that had come to him armed with swords and clubs and took him to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had gathered.
The chief priest had nothing to pin against Jesus for his arrest and tried to devise lies that would implicate him. The Bible further states that after many lies against him, two men came forward and accused Jesus of wanting to destroy God’s temple and build it up in three days. This gave the High priest a solid accusation to lay against Jesus, as he dared him to defend himself against the allegations. Mathew 26:61-62 “This man said, “I am able to tear down God’s temple and three days later build it up again.” The High Priest stood up and said to Jesus, “have you no answer to give to this accusation against you?”
Jesus, however, knew what the High priest was driving at and kept quiet. This angered the High Priest, who asked him to come clear on if he was the Messiah, the son of God; Jesus answered and said, as recorded in Mathew 26:64, “So you say. But I tell all of you; from this time on, you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven!”.
Jesus’s answer had given the High priest and the chief priests a perfect opportunity to kill him, as they accused him of Blasphemy. The following morning the elders and the chief priests made their final plans on how to kill him, led him, and handed him over to Pilate. As mentioned above, Jesus went through severe torture and was crucified.
Is there biblical evidence of who killed Jesus?
The Bible does not point out the exact person or people that killed Jesus, but mentions a group of people that came together and participated in the death of Jesus in several stages as Acts 4:27-28 says,
“For indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met in this city with the Gentiles and the people of Israel against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you made Messiah. They gathered to do everything that you, by your power and will, had already decided would happen.”
- who was responsible for Christ’s death?
- Why did Romans kill Jesus Christ?
- Who killed Jesus?
- When did the Jewish leaders begin to plot to kill Jesus?
- Who killed Jesus?
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.