Jesus Christ



44. Why did the Jews hate and persecute Jesus and condemned Him to death? What evil did He do?




Jesus Christ did no evil. He did no harm to the Jews, nor to the Samaritans nor to the Gentiles. I say it again, He did no harm. Notwithstanding this, the Jews hated Him and persecuted Him and condemned Him to death, and delivered Him to Pilate, the governor of Judea, who gave sentence that it should be as the Jews requested with loud voices, that is, Jesus had to be crucified. All these things happened – even though Jesus did not deserve to be treated in that way – because God determined beforehand that they should happen, therefore at His appointed time He caused them to happen. This was confirmed by the disciples of the Lord, when one day they said to God: “For of a truth against thy holy child [servant] Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28), and also by the apostle Peter, who said to the Jews: “This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23 - NIV).

Obviously, God had revealed His purpose to His prophets of old, who spoke of the sufferings of Christ, for one day the apostle Peter said to the Jews: “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18 – NKJV), and the same apostle wrote in his first epistle: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11 – NKJV).

Now, let me explain to you why the Jews hated Jesus and condemned Him to death. In reading the story of Jesus of Nazareth we can see very clearly that Jesus was hated and persecuted because He healed the sick on the Sabbath and called God His Father, making Himself equal with God.

According to the Jews, the fact that Jesus healed the sick on the Sabbath meant that Jesus profaned the seventh day, which was holy to God (in the law God forbade the Jews to work on the Sabbath so that they might keep it holy – cf. Exodus 20:8-11). However, the Jews ignored the fact that on the Sabbath they practiced circumcision and the priests in the temple offered several sacrifices in obedience to the law of Moses (which was the same law which commanded the Jews not to work on the Sabbath) without breaking it. Consequently to do those things on the Sabbath did not mean to break the law, and in fact Jesus never rebuked the Jews for doing those things on the Sabbath.

But to the Jews Jesus was deserving of death because on the Sabbath He did good, healing the sick. They called Him “a sinner” (John 9:24) for this reason. One day, it was Sabbath, after Jesus healed a man who had a withered hand, the Pharisees were filled with rage (Luke 6:11) and “plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Matthew 12:14 – NKJV). The Jews were filled with rage even when they heard Jesus say that God was His Father; several times they sought to kill Him for this reason, but they did not manage to kill Him because His hour had not yet come. The apostle John says: “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18 – NKJV).

However, one day Jesus said to some Jews who wanted to stone Him for blasphemy because He had said that He and the Father were one: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:34-38) But they refused to listen to Him. On the other hand, Jesus was really the Son of God, He knew He was the Son of God, twice the Father confirmed it by speaking from heaven (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). It was normal for Jesus to say that God was His Father.

It came to pass that one day the Jews managed to take Him and arrest Him, and they led Him into their council. The High Priest asked Jesus to tell them if He was the Christ, the Son of the Blessed, and when Jesus answered that He was the Christ, they all condemned Him as worthy of death, and they delivered Him to Pontius Pilate who, having examined Him, wanted to release Him because He had found no reason for death in Him, but the Jews wanted at all costs Jesus to be crucified, and they asked Pilate with loud voices to crucify Jesus and to release to them Barabbas, who was a murderer; for at Passover the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. The governor’s soldiers led Him away to be crucified. They came to a place called Golgotha where they crucified Jesus, with Him they also crucified two robbers.

But the story of Jesus did not end with His death, because the third day He was raised from the dead. Glory to His name. Amen.