“‘Am I a Jew?’ Pilate replied. ‘It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?’” (John 18:35 NIV)
In the trial of Christ, it was not only Rome, the imperial republic, but also the courts, in particularly the Sanhedrin—the Supreme Court of the chosen people of God—that was seen at its worst. Remember, it was the Jewish Sanhedrin that hatched this foremost miscarriage of justice in all the annals of world jurisprudence.
Unbelievably, it was “the people of Israel, [to whom belonged]…the adoption…the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship…the promises…the patriarchs, and…the human ancestry of Christ” (Romans 9:4-5 NIV), who convicted and condemned their own Messiah and brought Him to Pilate for execution.
It was those who should have been the major players in Christ’s coronation, who were the major plotters in His crucifixion. It was those who should have been most prepared for His reception, who led the world in His rejection. And it was those who should have been ready to embrace Him, who readily accepted the responsibility for executing Him (Matthew 27:25).
One cannot help but think of the Jewish crowd’s bloodcurdling cry—“His blood be on us and our children”—when one thinks of the tragic history of the Jewish people in our world. Spiritual privilege brings with it severer judgment and no rejection of Christ escapes serious, not to mention, eternal consequence. As in His mercy, so also in His judgment, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34).
Who killed Jesus Christ? According to the Prophet Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities” and “stricken” for our sins (Isaiah 53:5, 8). Therefore, neither the Jews and their Sanhedrin nor the Romans and their procurator, Pontius Pilate, were any more responsible for the crucifixion of Christ than we were. It was our sins, not the guilty verdict of the Sanhedrin or the execution order of Pilate that nailed the Savior to the tree.