Who killed Jesus Christ?

Riekert Botha - Who killed Jesus Christ?

Who killed Jesus? Are Riekert Botha and his Facebook followers Christ killers?

Riekert Botha - man murdered the Son of God

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

Riekert Botha

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.

Abraham sacrifices his Son, Isaac

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.

Jewish Deicide

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”.


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Please see all articles on Riekert Botha here

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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

6 Responses

  1. Christiana says:

    I don’t know who Mr Botha is but I’m not sure if he meant that men actually killed the Lord but that was the intention of their hearts. The Bible does teach that what we do in our hearts is sin even if we do not actually physically enact something. Peter’s sermons in Acts 1-3 says several times to Israel : ” you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” ( Acts 2:23) Or in 2:35: ” therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified”. And in 3:12-15 he continues by saying:” …you…put to death the Prince of life…”. ( 15) In each of these accusations Peter is making clear their intentions, what they were fully carrying out the best they could! And before that they actually beat Him and pulled out His beard etc. It was more than in their hearts! And these passages were not to imply that Gentiles were off the hook in those intentions but rather to stir Israel to repentance so that “times of refreshing may come upon you”. Christ was in charge of His death the whole time with the “power to lay it down and the power to take it up again”. He is the one to give up His spirit and place it into the Father’s hands Yet suffered great physical pains by the hands of men!!! The intentions of both the Jew and the world was to be “rid of this Man”! The Jews’ act was from an angle different from the world. They had been privileged and had been given the very “oracles of God” and yet still “sold Him into wicked hands”. Their privilege didn’t help them but rather made them arrogant. By Israel casting out the Heir proved they had the same view of God as the world! This is the same point of apostasy the church is heading towards. May we all guard ourselves in the Word of God and prayer.

  2. Hi Christiana.
    You wrote:

    I don’t know who Mr Botha is but I’m not sure if he meant that men actually killed the Lord but that was the intention of their hearts.

    Ignorance, or not being sure of what someone means when he or she says something in the realm of the Gospel, is dangerous. As I said, “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.”

    Were you involved in the killing of Jesus, perhaps just slightly, while the Jews were more deeply involved and, therefore, more severe in their killing of Jesus because they had a different angle from which they worked? What do you suppose was this angle that surpassed the universal angle of sin? Perhaps, you would say, “Yes, my sins killed Him.” Well, in that case your sins and the sins of the Jews at that time (same difference) helped to procure our salvation, which, of course, is ludicrous.

    Riekert Botha’s poster does not convey the fact that sinful thoughts in our hearts amount to the actual deeds and, therefore, man actually killed Christ. It was not merely sinful thoughts in people’s hearts that killed Him. Your argument portrays precisely what I warned people against. It is a kind of Phariseeism which boasts, “I, or we didn’t kill Jesus, they did; those varmints and deicidal Jews did it.”

    I get the idea that you did not read all of my post and the link I provided to The Berean Call. Had you done so, you would rather have focused on what Jesus said and not what Riekert Botha or even Peter said at Pentecost. Jesus said, He received a command of his Father to lay down his life of Himself. Had He not done so Himself, and others took his life, He would have been disobedient to his Father. How can you trust someone who emphatically said, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” and then fails to lay down his own life so that sinful men could kill Him? Was He lying when He said, “No man taketh it (my life)?” Laying down one’s life may mean to be willing put yourself in harm’s way so that others may kill you, like a soldier who lays down his life to save others. But Jesus did not only say, “I lay it down of myself.” He elaborated what He meant by adding the phrase, “No man teaketh it from me.” No man is “no man.”

    You seem to have been influenced by Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion.” As Dave Hunt said, “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?” His great physical pains He suffered by the hand of men did not kill Him, and neither did it pay for our sins.

    He laid down his life of Himself to be killed, not by the hands of men, as He said, but by the hand of his Father. God slew his Son because THAT, and nothing else, could ever fully pay for our sins.

  3. Christiana says:

    Whew Mr. Lessing, you accuse me of not reading the article yet I did and have read numerous articles at this site for several years and have benefited. From the quote you provide by this Botha, whether he meant that men actually took His life or not, I couldn’t tell from the quote. And for making accusations that I am not an astute reader I am going to say the same to you. I actually agree with the quote you highlight above by Botha! The Bible says Satan “was a murderer from the beginning”. That is he set to destroy the truth about the coming of Christ and the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. He set lies before our first parents who followed Satan into the lie and gave the inheritance of sin and death to all his offspring. The story of the Bible is that although “all have sinned and are fallen short of the glory of God” etc. it also says “to whom much has been given much shall be required”. Does any prudent and proper parent expect the same level of maturity from their two year old as their 10 or teen? The main narrative of the Bible starts when God called Abram from Ur and begins to start a nation of people He wants close to Himself, a “people for a possession”. He brought them “near” and gave them the very “oracles of God” and prophets etc. He did not do that to the nations but left Himself a witness nevertheless as Romans one etc states. The gospels lay out the drama of the whole conclusion of this many years long drama showing the arguments and the hatreds and enmities running through the whole of Israel and the powers that be…from Herod killing little ones at Christ’s birth and onward to constant skepticism and plots of death against the Lord. Never are we shown the Gentiles plotting and scheming against Jesus but only participating in the final judgements brought by the Sanhedrin. Why? Because the Jews were more wicked? Never did I imply that in my above post and said opposite! The Gentile world God had left to themselves and it produced wickedness and rebellion as mankind just continued on its course from the fall. That was a given in Scripture. But God’s people whom He had tenderly nurtured and cared for had betrayed Him and hurt Him in a personal way that was far different than those “far off” could. The decision to “crucify the Prince of Life” as Peter a fellow Jew stated, and who had his own guilt of shame, was far different than the Romans part in the crucifixion. Mankind overall, each one, wants to be “rid of this Man”. But the narrative in Scripture boils it down that the Jew with all his privilege was really no different! Just as mankind didn’t want the Lord from the beginning, neither did the Jew! And it is not anti-semitic to say that the Jew played an entirely different part in the crucifixion than Rome or someone is not reading the plain narrative. And because of that, because the Jew wanted to “kill the heir that the inheritance might be ours”, echoing Adam in Eden, and killed Him “outside the gate” thoroughly rejecting Him, the Lord placed His salvation there and there only! All the world, Jew and Gentile alike, must go “outside the gate” and see Him suffering there, see our handiwork, our guilt as those who would do whatever we could to be “rid of this Man” and then accept His mercy He has given instead. The one thief on the cross recognized this. He saw his guilt but only the innocence of the Lord. This is part the mystery of Christ, that we can act and make decisions yet God is sovereignly providing in ways we cannot see fully. I said above that it was only Christ and Him alone who had the power to “lay down His life and to take it up again” and that only He chose the time to “give up His Spirit and place it into the Father’s hands”. And only the “Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. Yet real people did real hurtful things to our Lord Jesus then and even now, by hurting the body of Christ as Paul states in Col 1:24. I used to enjoy your posts but now after your response to me, totally judging me wrongly, a person you do not know- nor did you try to understand me a bit but just jumped to wild conclusions, I have lost my respect of you and this supposed ministry. I am born again by grace through faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood for me on the cross and love Him and His Word. It is His promise to any “whosoever that believes” and that is good enough for me! Maranatha!- C

  4. Christian, Thank you for your comment.

    May I ask again, Who do you say killed Jesus?

  5. Christiana says:

    BTW… I have never seen the Passion of Christ nor do I desire to see it! I was raised Baptist and still attend a Baptist Church. I have read almost every book by Dave Hunt and used to get his monthly newsletters in the mail but now online. I do not agree with everything he writes as the saying goes “If two people agree one hundred percent on everything one of them is not thinking”! I love Sir Robert Anderson and have read many of his books as well and same thing as with the agreement thing. What is most important is to just keep trying to understand one another and especially in this kind of format when you more than I are at a disadvantage since I’ve read so much you have written but not vice versa. The disagreement I am having is centered around you more because it was how you wrote your conclusions to Botha that bothered me more. And I was proved by that in how you responded to me. Sincerely in Christ, Christiana

  6. Hi Christiana.

    May I ask again, Who do you say killed Jesus?

    I never accused you of anything. I merely said, “I get the idea that you did not read all of my post and the link I provided to The Berean Call.” “I get the idea” means “I think,” “I assume,” “I surmise,” “I presume.” It is not an accusation, just to set the record straight. So, please stop accusing me of things I never said.

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