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 And when Jesus had come to the end of all these words, he said to his disciples, After two days is the Passover, and the Son of man will be given up to the death of the cross. Then the chief priests and the rulers of the people came together in the house of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas. And they made designs together to take Jesus by some trick, and put him to death. But they said, Not while the feast is going on, for fear of trouble among the people. Matthew 26:1-5.For a little over two thousand years, various people around the world have blamed the Jews for killing Jesus. For this reason and for other reasons, Jews have been persecuted beyond reason. It is wrong. A travesty of human decency, morality and justice, the people of Israel have been the brunt of planned programs such as the holocaust and the daily threat of terror inflicted against them in, for some, an attempt to wipe them from the face of the earth.

Two main areas of contention are (a) the land itself and (b) the crucifixion of Jesus.

The lunacy that prevails around the world concerning the land and her people and the Palestinian question beggars the imagination. God promised this land to Israel before there were Jews, Gentiles, Arabs or a place called Palestine! It is part of an everlasting covenant that He made with a man called Abram. All one has to do is conduct a simple search into scripture to see how many times God made statements that Jerusalem was His city and the people we call Jews are to live there in the capital of the land of Israel without controversy.
I ask you to conduct independent research. It would be good if you have bible software on your computer, do some searches and it will become quickly evident that what I just said is the truth.
Concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, They never killed Him!
Please allow me to explain.

Look again at our reference, this time from another version of scripture.
When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.” 

The chief priest made this statement when addressing the elders of the people in private. By his own admission, the ordinary people would have rioted.
The ordinary people did not plan to kill Jesus. Rather, they often thronged to hear Him speak; to receive blessing from Him or to witness others be healed. Jesus came to preach the Kingdom message, to teach the ways of the Kingdom and to heal the sick, which is our mandate and most people loved it!

It is true that many people gather around for entertainment and spectacle and some of the people who thronged the places where Jesus was visiting may have had such ulterior motives, but when we look at how Jesus was greeted, they never contrived His execution.
On most occasions, the multitude that came to Jesus did so for good and noble purposes. The phrase, “The multitude” appears some eighty-four times in the gospels. They never wanted Him dead. He fed them. He healed them. He gave them hope. He broke across the traditions that held people in bondage and gave new insight into their meanings.

When speaking about the Law that says we are not to commit murder, He took it to a higher level saying that if we have hatred in our hearts, we have as good as killed someone. When talking about adultery, He said that if we foster sexual thoughts in our minds it is the same as actually committing the act. 

Children loved Him and He loved them. A woman, who was an outcast because of her physical condition, touched the hem of His garment to receive her healing (see The woman who stopped God) whilst a great throng of people surrounded him. They weren’t after His blood! The religious leaders were!

It seems that when Jesus did something so wonderful that He aroused their ire. He healed someone on the Sabbath and they started baiting Him to find something they could use to get rid of Him. Matthew 12:9-14 is a classic example. I would be more than happy to see someone healed, but they grew angry. Why? It still happens today. The Message account says that they walked out furious, sputtering about how they were going to ruin Jesus. That stuff is real. I know! I have been on the receiving end of it!

Matthew 27:1 is interesting.
In the first light of dawn, all the high priests and religious leaders met and put the finishing touches on their plot to kill Jesus.

No mention is made of the ordinary people. I doubt if they even knew! They were not the ones who were plotting!
In Luke 6:11 Jesus told the man who had the withered hand to stretch it out and when he did, he was healed. I have seen this happen in my own ministry and it is a great and wonderful time to see God blessing another human being and gives an opportunity to give God all the credit. Instead of feeling happy for the man, they grew angry. Luke says that they were beside themselves with anger and started plotting how they might get even with Him. Look at what Luke says next.

From then on he taught each day in the Temple. The high priests, religion scholars, and the leaders of the people were trying their best to find a way to get rid of him. But with the people hanging on every word he spoke, they couldn't come up with anything.  Luke 19:47-48.

Jesus was touching their religious sacred cows and it is a sad thing to have to say that it still happens today… even in the “Church”. Luke adds-
The Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called Passover, drew near. The high priests and religion scholars were looking for a way to do away with Jesus but, fearful of the people, they were also looking for a way to cover their tracks.
That's when Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot. He was one of the Twelve. Leaving the others, he conferred with the high priests and the Temple guards about how he might betray Jesus to them. They couldn't believe their good luck and agreed to pay him well. 
He gave them his word and started looking for a way to betray Jesus, but out of sight of the crowd. Luke 22:1-6.

The betrayal did not come from the ordinary people but from the religious bigots who are still with us. It was in essence nothing less than a power struggle. The manipulation, domination and control exercised by the leaders over ordinary people then still exist today. They plotted and schemed, seeking a way to be rid of the one who threatened their stranglehold over the minds and emotions of decent simple folk who were blithely ignorant of their schemes. Judas joined with them for personal financial gain, but they could not handle the truth and the risk of being exposed as religious frauds. The priesthood that God instigated had become warped and twisted by man’s religious intervention.

Look now at something John said after Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.
That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. John 11:45.

There in plain English is what I believe the thing that motivated them. Jesus had become too popular with the people for their liking and now that some of the religious leaders also believed, it was too much for them to handle! A few of the religious leaders went back to the Pharisees and told them what happened and it panicked them.

The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. "What do we do now?" they asked. "This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs.If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have." John 11:47-48.

They were afraid that Jesus’ popularity with the people would exceed theirs. It was as I said, a power struggle. They felt threatened. He was upsetting their status quo and they could not handle it.

Then one of them—it was Caiaphas, the designated Chief Priest that year—spoke up, "Don't you know anything? Can't you see that it's to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?" He didn't say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God's exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people.
From that day on, they plotted to kill him.
So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews. He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples. John 11:49-54.

The ordinary people… may I call them The Jews… were ignorant of these things.

The high priest and his cohorts were the ones who wanted Him dead and they plotted to kill Him. They were so incensed that they also wanted to kill Lazarus. All normal rational thinking and reasoning seems to have left them because of fear, envy, jealousy and pure greed.
Unfortunately, these men were the figureheads in the land who had become political pawns of the Roman conquerors for selfish reasons. They could draw on resources like the Temple Guards and the Roman Army to meet their own ends and contrived the arrest of Jesus on a trumped up charge that Pilate wanted dismissed.

History tells us that leaders who misuse power and authority can rule with an iron fist. Their army can instill fear into the hearts and minds of ordinary people either by direct threats or physical action or by the threat thereof. Many dictators rise to power by the use of bribery and threats, or the assassination of their opponents, imprisonment or by the withdrawal of resources. A man with a gun in a police state can dictate terms to an innocent family man who fears for the welfare of his wife and children.

These factors combined with the nature of Jewish Law may have given men like the chief priests the edge. Simple-minded folk could be easily swayed in the heat and emotion of a religious festival by mercenaries and bribed officials. Sometimes people go with the flow to avoid personal conflict. It is easier to sway with the breeze that try to resist it at times.

These few illustrations may have been influencing factors in the arrest and trial of Jesus.
He was arrested at night under cover of the dark when decent Jews were in their homes as a requirement of the Jewish Festival. They took him into the court where ordinary folk did not usually gather.
False witnesses could not agree on their testimonies. Jesus remained silent and did not speak a word in His defense, speaking only when the High Priest invoked the Name of God, which of course Jesus could not and would not deny. 

They sent Him to Pilate, the governor and He remained silent before him as well. The governor wanted His release, but the core of priests that were scheming and plotting demanded His death. To avoid a riot, Pilate succumbed. His own future depended on maintaining as peaceful occupation as possible.
Pilate said that he found no fault in Jesus and would have released Him. Pilate addressed the chief priests and those present, but the group of people present fiercely insisted. I doubt if ordinary citizens could have such private access to the Governor. The people accusing Jesus had to have some special privilege or authority to warrant such a hastily arranged meeting. Hearing that Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate sent Him to Herod. When Herod questioned Jesus, Luke says that the chief priests and scribes stood by and vehemently accused Him. See Luke 23:9-10. The Greek word for accused is katēgoreō. It describes the action of someone acting in the position of a plaintiff, charging someone with some offence. I put it to you that no ordinary private citizen could have stood in the palace at such a time, making such powerful accusations. Herod sent Him back to Pilate who called for the chief priests and the rulers and the people and again stated that he found no fault with Jesus. He added that Herod found no fault.

Herein is a principle that should be noted. The bible says that at the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word should be established. See Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; Hebrews 10:28. Matthew 26:60 states that many witnesses came but could not agree on their stories until two false witnesses presented their stories. We need to look at this.
And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, Matthew 26:57-60.

Caiaphas, the scribes, the elders and all the council were assembled there and they, not the people sought witnesses. There were none until two were found, most likely bribed to tell their stories. Out of all the people in Israel only two people came forward to give false testimony.

What I find very interesting is the fact that the testimony or judgment of two reputable and reliable men was witness of two men, powerful leaders at that were totally ignored.

Pilate again tried to release Jesus, but the people who wanted Jesus dead would not listen and demanded His death. Matthew’s account reveals that Pilate saw that a tumult was being made. Ordinary people generally do little until stirred up. It takes a strong core of people who threaten, bribe, or use violence and coercion in the midst of otherwise innocent people to achieve their objectives. When the human emotion is stirred and passion is flamed all sense of reason often disappears. Matthew 27:24 made a public declaration of his intent by publicly washing his hands declaring Jesus to be a just person and in verse 25, Mathew said that the crowd cried out that Jesus’ blood would be on them and their children. They had lost control, but the question I ask is, was this crowd a full representation of the ordinary family men and women and their families or was it the core of fanatics stirred up by the religious leaders? In verses 39 and 40, Matthew states that they who passed by mocked Him. Why does he refer to? Who are the “They”? Why did he not say “crowd” or “mob”? Perhaps the answer is found in the next verse that states the chief priests, the scribes and the elders mocked Him.

Please look at something interesting that happened after His death.
The next day (which is after the day of preparation) the chief priests and the Pharisees assembled before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that while that deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give orders to secure the tomb until the third day. Otherwise his disciples may come and steal his body and say to the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “Take a guard of soldiers. Go and make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the soldiers of the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. Matthew 27:62-66. 

The ordinary people did not approach Pilate with this request... the ones who contrived His death did. The King James Version says that they said the last error shall be worse than the first. To which error or errors are they referring? Is it theirs? Did they realize that they had been mistaken and wanted to cover it up by preventing the possibility that Jesus would in fact be raised from the dead or that His disciples would steal the body? There was a real element of doubt there and I now believe that they wanted to cover their tracks.

The more I look at the crucifixion story, the more I am convinced that the population at large had little to do with Jesus’ death and that it was only a small, yet powerful and influential group who did.

The ordinary people didn’t kill Him—the Romans did, being used as puppets by religious men.

I am now more convinced than ever that Jews can say with absolute honestly, “We didn’t kill Him”. What do you think? 

Keep walking by faith

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