Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts


Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Who Was Responsible for the Death of Jesus?

READ Matthew 27:1-26

Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

Matthew 27:24

For centuries, many Christians have hated Jews, partly because “the Jews killed Christ.” Not only is anti-Semitism contradictory to the call of Jesus to love others, but also it falls prey to Pilate’s own cleverness. You see, Pilate was the only person in Jerusalem who had the authority over crucifixion. No matter what he said about his innocence, Pilate bears full blame, on human terms, for the death of Jesus. His claim to innocence was only an attempt to “spin” matters in his favor. The tiny percentage of Jews in Jerusalem who called for the death of Jesus had no power over Pilate, but they did provide a convenient excuse to protect him from the masses of Jews who supported Jesus.
At a deeper level, however, Pilate wasn’t responsible for the death of Jesus. Jesus himself chose the way of the cross in obedience to his Heavenly Father (see Matthew 26:36-46). As Jesus said in the Gospel of John: “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” So anti-Semitism is not only a moral mistake and a historical mistake, but also a theological mistake. Though certain Jewish leaders did conspire to have Jesus crucified, and though Pilate did approve of his crucifixion, what matters most is that Jesus chose the cross.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever witnessed anti-Semitic actions or heard anti-Semitic words? How do you understand the reasons for Jesus’ death?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I’m reminded to pray against the scourge of anti-Semitism. For centuries we Christians have rejected your call to love our Jewish neighbors. We have contributed to their persecution, or stood idly by while others did the dirty work. Forgive us, Lord.
Anti-Semitism is growing in our world today. Jews continue to be victims of violence and hatred. May such bigotry be rooted out and destroyed. May your justice prevail.
Gracious Lord, though human beings contributed to your death, they didn’t make it happen by their own choice. Indeed, you chose the cross out of obedience to your Heavenly Father and out of love for us. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your faithful sacrifice. Amen.
A P.S. from Mark
I have written an extensive series on my website on the topic: Why Did Jesus Have to Die? In this series I examine historical and theological reasons for the death of Jesus.
Daily Reflections from The High Calling.org
This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.
high calling daily reflection



  • Karen Keil

    Who is responsable for Jesus’s death? The one possibility that wasn’t included in your list is that I am – you are – we are all guilty of His murder. That’s why it’s so easy to point fingers.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mark D. Roberts. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 2:09:11pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions
In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we cannot fully understand the necessity of Jesus’ death without taking them all

posted 2:47:39am Apr. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling
Can We Find God in the City? Psalm 48:1-14 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever,

posted 2:05:51am Apr. 10, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3
An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and trendy jewelry to associate the cross with love. But, in the first

posted 2:41:47am Apr. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2
The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (15:3). Yet this text doesn’t expl

posted 2:30:03am Apr. 07, 2011 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.