Who was responsible for Jesus’s death?

From John Stott’s devotional Through the Bible Through the Year:

“Who was responsible for Jesus’s death? We Christians are often accused of anti-Semitism because (it is alleged) we try to fasten the blame onto the Jews, especially the Jewish leaders. But responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus is spread much more widely than to a single group of people. The evangelists make it plain that Judas, the priests, Pilate, the crowd, and the soldiers all played a significant part in the drama. Moreover, in each case more than a hint of motivation is suggested. Judas was moved by greed, the priests by envy, Pilate by fear, the crowd by hysteria, and the soldiers by callous duty. We recognize the same mixture of sins in ourselves.

“The same Greek verb is used of each stage. The word is paradidomi, which can mean to deliver, to hand over, to give up, and even to betray. Thus Judas handed Jesus over to the priests. The priests handed him over to Pilate. Pilate handed him over to the will of the crowd, and the crowd handed him over to be crucified.

“But this is only the human side of the story. Jesus insisted that his death was a voluntary act on his part, so that he handed himself over to it: ‘No one takes it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord’ (John 10:18) And in some passages the verb paradidomi reappears. For example, ‘the Son of God…loved me and gave himself for me’ (Gal. 2:20)

“Still, however, there is one more perspective to consider, namely the action of God the Father in giving up his Son to death. For example, God is described as ‘he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all’ (Rom. 8:32).

“Finally, there is one passage in which the divine and human aspects of Jesus’s death are brought together. Peter preached, ‘This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death’ (Acts 2:23). Here the death of Jesus is attributed equally to the purpose of God and the wickedness of men. No attempt is made to resolve the paradox. Both statements are true.”



  1. “We recognize the same mixture of sins in ourselves”.

    Yes, indeed I sure do!

    Happy Easter to you and your lovely family.


  2. Our need for a savior is responsible. Ironically, I am typing this as the nails are being driven into Jesus while watching The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson movie).

    Forgive me Lord, it is I who am responsible. Thank you Lord for providing a means for forgiveness.

    Иисус воскрес! В истину воскрес!

  3. Ann: That is the same sentence that struck me as I read this…

    Wayne: I recall teaching a Sunday school class to orphans who attended our church for a time — the day some of them recognized that THEY were responsible for their own sin was verrrry interesting! They were used to answering Satan. I asked them to show me where in Scripture the serpent held Eve’s mouth open and shoved the fruit inside…

    The orthodox calendar celebrates Easter next month, so our church here will also celebrate it then. Many of us shared Easter greetings, though, today.

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