Who Killed Jesus According to The Bible?


Many questions about events and people in the Bible need answers. One of the most crucial but ignored is “who killed Jesus.” It sounds like a rhetorical question, but one would understand the need for the question when one considers the different groups of people that have a hand in Jesus’ death. Can we put the blame solely on the Jews? Or do the Romans also share in the blame? Are you and I responsible? Or, are we all to blame

In answering this question, many tend to either absolve themselves of the blame and push it to a certain group of a certain period, while some may become so laden with guilt, which could affect their walk with God. In this article, we will be looking deeper into each group’s roles and how we can finally reach a conclusion to give this question a befitting answer.

Biblical Context of Jesus’ Death

Jesus’ ordeal began in the Garden of Gethsemane. Firstly, His heart was heavily burdened by the thoughts of His impending suffering and death. This pain increased when Judas Iscariot, one of His trusted twelve disciples, betrayed Him with a kiss. Then, He was whisked away to be tried by the high priest. There, they sought for witnesses to testify against Him falsely so that they would have something against Him. Still, many witnesses held no tangible information against Jesus heavy enough to attract a death penalty. However, two false witnesses came forward and accused Him of blasphemy (Matthew 26:60-61). 

Despite being accused falsely, Jesus did not reply to them until He was asked a direct question: “Are the Christ, the Son of God!?” (Mark 14:61-62, Matthew 26:63-64). Jesus’ response aggravated the high priest and all that were gathered. He confirmed His Sonship, His authority, and the second coming. Immediately, the decision that Jesus deserved to be put to death was made due to what they termed blasphemy.

Jesus was transferred to face Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. The Roman soldiers treated him brutally. He was crowned with thorns, adorned with a robe, and mockingly hailed as the King of the Jews. Finally, Pontius Pilate declared He should be killed by crucifixion. Jesus Christ was crucified at Golgotha, suffering the worst type of humiliation and death ever recorded in history (Matthew 27:31-50).

Significance of Jesus’ Death

In answering the question, “Who killed Jesus?” We cannot but look at the significance of His death. The fact is that Jesus died, but what did His death achieve? 

Sin became man’s nature after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden. However, God, being holy, could not effectively relate with the people He created in His image because sin always stood in the way. There was (and is) only one judgment for sin: death (Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23). Therefore, to meet the just requirement of a holy God regarding sin so that God and mankind can reunite, Jesus had to surrender His life as the sacrificial lamb, whose blood will cleanse our sins and, by extension, reconcile us to God.  In Hebrews 9:22, we see that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice saved us from eternal death and perdition. It allowed us to have a renewed intimate relationship with God and spend eternity with Him in the last days.

Who Killed Jesus?

So who caused the death of Jesus Christ? Did the Jews kill Jesus? Can we say that the ones who pushed for His crucifixion are to blame? Did the Romans kill Jesus? Shall we pin it on the Roman soldiers who executed Jesus by nailing Him to a cross? As salvation is now possible because of His death, are we to blame for Jesus’ death due to our sins? Let’s examine the unique roles each of these groups played in the death of Jesus.

Did the Romans Kill Jesus?

The Roman Empire was the ruling power in Jesus’ time. That means that the priests and the elders, who were all Jesus’ sworn enemies, needed the Roman authority to eliminate Jesus. So they sought the help of Pontius Pilate, the  Roman governor of Judaea. Even though he knew that the accusations against Jesus by the Jews were due to envy, he ended up giving the order, even though reluctantly (Mark 15:10). Pontius sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. The Roman soldiers carried out the order (Matthew 27:27-37).

The Roman soldiers also were involved in the mockery and brutality against Jesus before He was led to where He was nailed to the cross to die. When we look at it from this perspective, from the sentencing to the execution, technically, the Romans played a role in killing Jesus.

Did the Jews Kill Jesus?

The religious leaders of the Jews played a significant role in Jesus’ death. All through Jesus’ ministry, they sought ways to kill Him (Matthew 26:3-4). They disliked Him for several reasons. Jesus, at several times, called out on their hypocrisy. The things He said and even the miracles He performed enraged them (Matthew 12:23-24, John 2:13-17, Mark 3:4-6). Jesus actively spoke against their evil religious traditions and associated them with the groups of people they scorned (Luke 7:39, Matthew 11:19). 

The religious leaders got Him arrested, found a reason for His execution, and pushed to have Him crucified (Mark 15:11-14). Even when the Roman governor did not see any reason for Jesus to be killed, the chief priests and the elders stirred up a crowd to insist on His death. They were the instigators of Jesus’ death.

Did We Kill Jesus?

God sent Jesus as a sacrificial lamb because of our sins. Our sins made Jesus come to this world and passed through pain, agony, and death. He died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us that we are why Jesus was wounded and bruised. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us and to sacrifice Himself through humiliation and death. Jesus was a worthy sacrifice because He was without sin, and His sacrifice was perfect to satisfy God’s wrath against sin. Therefore, we can share in the blame for Jesus’ death.

Is Anyone to Blame For Jesus’ Death?

Can we point a direct finger as to who killed Jesus? No matter the role people played in Jesus’ death, it was foreordained to happen. God deliberately sent Jesus to die (John 3:16). God delivered him up for us all (Romans 8:32) to be killed so that our sins can be paid for (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus was a willing sacrifice. He willingly laid down His life. Jesus says that no one can take His life unless He lays it down (John 10:17-18). This ends the debate that people killed Jesus but emphasizes that His death was according to God’s will. Everyone who played a role acted to fulfill the plan of God (Acts 2:23). Jesus’ death and resurrection granted us the right to salvation and eternal life. Jesus Christ states that He came for this reason, so we can have life and abundance (John 10:10).

Final Thoughts

Jesus was indeed physically killed, and many contributed to the actualization of His death, and we can go on and on apportioning blames as to who killed Him. However, it all was part of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. Anyone who believes Jesus died and resurrected will receive salvation and reconciliation with God. For all who believe in Him, sin has been put to death, and life is given in exchange for Christ Jesus. 

It is such a beautiful thing to know that the Son of God took upon Himself the sin of the world of the past, present, and future and submitted Himself to face the full punishment through death so that we do not have to, giving us access to God as the forgiven and justified to enjoy all of His promises.