Who killed Jesus Christ?
Who killed Jesus? Are Riekert Botha and his Facebook followers Christ killers?
Are Riekert Botha and his Facebook pals Christ killers? – is a shocking question and will definitely offend people, especially Riekert Botha’s Facebook friends. Some of them may even accuse me of being an unsaved pagan, as someone by the name of Helene once wrote in a comment. Nevertheless, a closer look at his poster on the left seems to suggest exactly just that, unless they are not part and parcel of mankind and merely alien visitors from another planet.
Subtle shades of deception
The deception in our perilous times has become so subtle, so cunning, that it is often exceedingly difficult to discern whether something said or written in the public domain is indeed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 4:1). Therefore, the words you use, and its inherent semantics, can and often do have an enormous influence on people, especially when they do not care or bother to discern these semantics in the light of Scripture.
A good case in point is Riekert Botha’s statement, “Man worships himself to the point of being prepared to destroy anything that opposes him, including murdering the Son.” Firstly, the Bible never once teaches that God opposed or opposes mankind per se. God loves all mankind but opposes what man has done and is doing to itself – shutting heaven’s gates to itself (John 8:21-24). His entire program of salvation throughout the Old and New Testaments was/is to redeem mankind from the things which He vehemently opposes, namely mankind’s sins, rebellion and hardheartedness.
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8).
Satan is the one who opposes (is the adversary of) mankind, not God (1 Peter 5:8). Moreover, Jesus was not crucified because He allegedly opposed or opposes mankind; He was crucified because of his confirmation that He was one with the Father and, therefore, God incarnate (John 10:30-31).
It is an undisputed fact that wrong interpretations often lead to equally wrong results. The notion that God opposes mankind; that mankind is the object of God’s opposition, is the root of Botha’s wrong conclusion that mankind murdered Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that no one took his life (killed or murdered Him), but that He Himself had the power to lay it down.
Therefore, doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18).
Note carefully that God the Father expressly commanded his Son to lay down his life of Himself. Had the Jews, the Gentiles or mankind collectively, murdered Him, as Botha said, Christ would have been guilty of disobedience to the Father, which would have tainted his sacrificial and substitutionary death on the cross, and thus rendered it ineffective and insufficient.
Was it ineffective and insufficient? No! a thousand times no. Why? Because He cried out with a loud voice “TETELESTAI,” “IT IS FINISHED,” which means “PAID IN FULL.” He could never have cried out “PAID IN FULL” if sinful men had murdered Him because it would have been diametrically in opposition to God the Father’s express command to lay down his life of Himself. Abraham’s offering of his son Isaac on Mount Moriah prefigures Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Abraham, representing the Father, singlehandedly had to strike the death blow. No one else was involved. Hence, the magnanimous words in Isaiah 53.
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10).
The Berean Call wrote:
The Hebrew noun chabburah translated “stripes” is singular in Isaiah:53:5, indicating one blow from God wounding Christ “for our transgressions,” bruising Him “for our iniquities”—not the many stripes of scourging that were a major focus of Mel Gibson’s attempt to show that Christ’s physical sufferings paid for the sins of all mankind. Do you really believe that what Christ physically endured in the scourging and crucifixion was equal to what sinners will endure for all eternity in the lake of fire?
There is nothing in any of the four gospels (other than crowning Him with thorns and mocking Him as a king) to indicate that Christ’s scourging and crucifixion were any worse physically than that suffered by thousands of others. That “Pilate marvelled if he were already dead” (Mk 15:44) contradicts the idea that Christ was scourged and tortured within an inch of His life. Thus, the statement that “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Is 52:14) could not be due to unusual physical beating, but to such intense spiritual agony that His features were so distorted that it was awesome to behold.
None of Riekert Botha’s Facebook friends, or he himself, will admit that they are Christ killers. To whom then does he refer, if not to themselves? The most common view is that the Jews killed Jesus. Wikipedia writes,
Jewish deicide is the belief that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for the death of Jesus, a belief which is held by some Christians. Mobs used the antisemitic slur “Christ-killer” to incite violence against Jews and its use also contributed to many centuries of pogroms, the murder of Jews during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust.
In the catechism which was produced by the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church affirmed the belief that the collectivity of sinful humanity was responsible for the death of Jesus, not only the Jews. In the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI repudiated belief in collective Jewish guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus. It declared that the accusation could not be made “against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_deicide
The argument that man murdered Christ is not only an open invitation to blame the Jews for Christ’s death but also a subtle diversion from what transpired between Father and Son on the cross. Though it is impossible to contemplate what Christ suffered on the cross when He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46) it is safe to say that the cross of Christ was a profoundly unfathomable agreement between Father and Son to accomplish man’s redemption.
Anything slightly or remotely humanistic attached to it, as per his murder by man, would have polluted the salvific power of his cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-19). A sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti would have had suffered incalculable marring consequences if the master allowed any Tom, Dick and Harry to complete any of his works. This may be an unwarranted example to illustrate the Father’s and Son’s involvement on the cross, but it certainly helps to understand the uniqueness of their involvement without anyone else’s participation.
What about Acts 5:30 – does it state that man killed Jesus Christ?
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.” (Act 5:30).
The word “diacheirizomai” occurs only twice in the New Testament, here in Acts 5:30 and in Acts 26:21 where the Jews laid hands on Paul and plotted to kill him. It follows that the word does not convey the actual killing or murdering of a person, but the forceful laying on of hands (grabbing or manhandling) of someone with an intent to kill him. If this meaning is relevant, then the forceful manhandling by Roman soldiers when Judas betrayed Him in the Garden of Gethsemane becomes clear. They laid hands on Him with an intent to kill Him.
If the word expressed the actual killing or murdering of a person, Acts 5:30 would appear to be a little lopsided. The strict chronological reading of the text would make it appear to say that they first killed Jesus and then hanged Him on a cross. To circumvent this dichotomy, some translations render it “ . . . whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.” Even so, it does not prove that the people killed Him. The people and the cross were instrumental in his killing, but they did not strike the blow that slew Him. It was God the Father who struck the death blow, as Abraham did his son, Isaac, as a foreshadowing of Christ’s death. And neither did the cross or pole kill Him. The pole was a sign of Him being cursed for our sins and transgressions of his Law. (Galatians 3:10, 13).
If man murdered Jesus Christ, it would have given rise to several inconsistencies regarding other biblical doctrines.
- Christ’s sacrifice was an offering unto sin (Romans 6:10) and all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Had it been true that sinful man for whom Christ died, killed Him, it would have added up to them having had a part in the securement of their own and our salvation, and that is impossible.
- The Old Testament High Priests alone could enter into the holy of holies of the tabernacle, and later the temple, once a year, and never without the blood of the sacrificial animal. Anyone else other than the High Priest was struck down dead if they tried to do what the High Priest was granted to perform. The Old Testament High Priests prefigured Jesus Christ who entered the holy of holies in heaven once with his own blood. Hebrews 10:5 says, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” Man had no part whatsoever in preparing a body for Jesus so that He could take upon Himself the sins of all mankind, and for this very reason no man could kill his body or take his life. There were many instances in Jesus’ life on earth when men tried to kill Him (stone Him to death), but He evaded them time and time again. Why? Because his time had not yet come to die. God the Father commanded Him to lay down his life of Himself and that could only have taken place in the fullness of time on a cursed pole so that He may be cursed for the sins of all mankind.
Anyone who believes and preaches that man murdered Jesus, is not, I repeat, NOT presenting the Gospel of God truthfully and accurately and is extremely dangerous. It tends to lead to another Gospel which supposes that the Jews killed Jesus and consequently were cast off PERMANENTLY by God as his chosen people. The small remnant of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke is, so they say, a small group of Jews who had been incorporated into the church at Pentecost.
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