Who Crucified Christ?
This question can be answered from several different perspectives. If we simply follow the historical account that we find in the Gospels we will see that a number of different individuals were involved. Judas Iscariot betrayed Him. The Jewish Counsel, called the Sanhedrin, accused Him of blasphemy and brought Him to Pontius Pilate and demanded that He be crucified. When Pilate indicated that he could not find anything wrong with Jesus, not only the Jewish leaders, but the large Jewish crowd loudly called for His crucifixion. When Pilate was unable to do anything else he delivered Him to Roman soldiers to crucify Him. Finally these Roman soldiers nailed Him to the cross.
Yet to simply follow the events recorded in the historical account does not give the real reason and responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ. In Acts 2:23, we read this concerning the crucifixion of Christ "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death."
In this verse Peter is speaking to a crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. He clearly states that by their treachery and murder they caused Jesus to be put to death. At the same time Peter again states that God had planned from eternity that Christ, the Son of God, would be crucified. The idea that the loving Father would pour out His wrath upon His Son by causing Him to be crucified is revolting to many. But, in fact, it is the greatest act of love by the Heavenly Father in that He gave His Son so that we might not have to bear the punishment for our sins.
This brings us to the real and ultimate reason and responsibility for Christ being crucified. The teaching of Scripture is very clear that the sins of all who have salvation in Him were placed or literally transferred to Christ and that He then suffered the punishment of God for our sins. Nowhere is this more clear than in Isaiah 53:5-6:
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
All who believe in Christ for eternal life, must acknowledge that we have crucified Christ. By our sinful nature and by the ongoing transgressions of the law of God we are responsible for His crucifixion. To be in fellowship with God and have eternal life, every sin we have ever committed and every sin that we will yet commit must be paid for by the sacrifice of our Lord.
But that is the heart of the gospel — that is the good news, that our sins have been covered by the blood of Christ. God's great act of love is that He sacrificed His Son so that we might be without sin. While it is important to understand the crucifixion of Christ we do not dwell on who crucified Him but on the benefit of the crucifixion. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we are told of this benefit. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
The crucifixion of Christ was awful. The crucifixion of Christ was caused by sin. God poured out His wrath on Christ so that sin might be removed. The story of Christ does not end with the crucifixion but with the resurrection. The glory of the cross is that we have new life, freed from the burden of sin. Because Christ suffered crucifixion you and I can live in fellowship with God.