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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Who Was Responsible for the Death of Jesus?

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Don Stewart

There is an age-old question concerning the responsibility for Jesus' death. Who is to blame for the terrible crime of executing Jesus? Actually there are a number of different people to blame.

The Jewish Religious Rulers Were Responsible

The Jewish religious rulers deserve their share of the blame. They hated Jesus without any just cause. Their hatred caused them to arrest Jesus, find false witnesses, and then condemn him as guilty. They also brought false charges against him in front of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

Then the whole body of them got up and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a King (Luke 23:1,2).

Pontius Pilate Was Responsible

Pontius Pilate has his share of the blame in the death of Jesus Christ. As he told Jesus, he had the authority to release Him or crucify Him.

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" (John 19:8-10).

Jesus Was Not Guilty

Pilate did not accept the Sanhedrin's verdict of Jesus being guilty of any crime. To the contrary, Pilate testified to his innocence.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him" (John 19:4).

Still, he gave the command for Jesus to be executed.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus (John 19:16).

The Entire Human Race Was Responsible

Ultimately, it was the entire human race that is responsible for Jesus' death on the cross. The penalty for the sins of all of us was placed upon Jesus. Paul wrote.

While there was the immediate blame with the Jewish religious rulers and Pontius Pilate the real blame should be placed where it deserves to be placed - all of us.


The death of Jesus was a horrible crime. Blame can be rightly be placed upon the Jewish religious leaders as well as Pontius Pilate. However the blame has to be ultimately placed on the entire human race. It was for our sins that Jesus went to his death on Calvary's cross. Therefore all of us were responsible for his death.

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