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The Persecuted Church


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Who killed Jesus?

The Bible says Jesus voluntarily gave up his life and allowed himself to be crucified to have our sins forgiven. This was foreordained by the Father, to send his Son to earth and die on Passover as the lamb of God for our sins (as John first introduced him to Israel) As Scripture says in Jn.4:14 “the Father sent the son as savior.”

Jesus explained to his disciples "saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'" (Luke 24:7)

God had a plan from the time of creation Peter 1:20: “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” That the Son would be the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8) By our believing in the gospel we will “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Matt 25:34).

At the trial before Caesar in the early morning they denied his release and in his place asked for the murderer Barabbas. They called for him to be crucified. The religious leaders knew of his pre trial with Rome and woke people up to voice their condemnation of Jesus to make sure of the outcome (Lk.23:23).

Even if the Jews did not solicit Caesar to have him crucified he would have had to die this day, in this manner; it was ordained in the Scripture, as prophecy.

What can we learn from Peter's Pentecost sermon? There was more to Christ's crucifixion than meets the eyes of those who witnessed it. The cross was prefigured by hundreds of thousands of animal sacrifices before it happened. Peter points out that Jesus was nailed to the cross by “the hands of godless men,” yet He was “delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). He was taking our place and suffering the wrath of God for our sins, fulfilling God's preordained plan, by the many predictions of the prophets. All of history led up to this event.

Acts 2:23-24 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;" whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” V. 36-37 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

The Jews who repented broke with the leadership of Israel and were baptized, receiving the same Holy Spirit.

The crucifixion recorded in the New Testament does not put the blame solely on the Jews and certainly never even hints that succeeding generations of Jews should be held accountable and persecuted because of it. Johns Gospel use of the term the Jews is often used to describe the opposition to Jesus. As does Peter when he addresses the leadership Acts 4:10 "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.”

Paul later writes, 1 Cor. 2:8: “which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Then there is Rome that also had an equal part, for without Pilate Jesus could not have been crucified.

Mark 15:15 “So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.”

Jesus in Johns Gospel made it clear who is responsible for his death: Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from my Father. (Jn. 10.17-18)

Jesus is responsible for his own death. He chose the time and manner fulfilling the Scripture (the Passover lamb) by dying as our sacrifice for sin and rising again from the dead to give eternal life to those who receive him. The prophecy of Isaiah 53, which describes the sufferings of the Messiah, It pleased the Lord to bruise him, He has put him to grief. Isaiah 53. 10. For God himself says It pleased the Lord to bruise him. Jesus death fulfilled the will of God.

We see Jesus submitting himself to the will of God when He prayed in Gethsemane: O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will. (Mt. 26.39)

This cup refers to the suffering he knew he would go through that would separate him from the eternal fellowship he had with the Father.

Jesus prayed from the cross, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, (Luke 21.34) expressing Gods forgiveness extends to those who were responsible for His death. There were certain people who called for the death of Jesus and made a kangaroo court to accomplish it, breaking twenty-two of their own laws in the course of Jesus’ trial.

The outstretched arm of forgiveness continues to the Jewish people after the resurrection of the Jesus. Peter said, “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all his prophets, that the Messiah would suffer, he has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3.17-19) They were ignorant of the spiritual meaning of it, the Apostles reminded them exhorting them to believe in his name.

The Jewish people, beginning at Pentecost heard this message thousands responded to it. The book of Acts shows us the first ones to be in the church were Jews. Jesus prayer on the cross for the forgiveness was answered, and still is.

Who was responsible for the death of Jesus is portrayed by the apostles in Acts 4.24-28: “They raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them," who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together" to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”

Hatred from both the Leadership of the Saducees and Pharisees became a conspiracy against the Messiah, headed up by Caiaphas, the High priest. His intention was to arrest Jesus in secret, and have him killed before the people became aware of what had happened (Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:11; Lk. 22:5)

All this took place to do whatever your hand and your purpose determined before to be done, to fulfill the predetermined plan of God. The responsibility for the death of Jesus is with God who had the Son who willingly died to fulfill his purposes.

Heb 12:2-3: “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

That joy cam by the greatest suffering so that He might rescue you. The message of the Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Gentile) (Rom. 1.16).

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