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Who Killed Jesus?

by David Cross

InterAct missionary David Cross recently shared his brief thoughts on the crucifixion with his supporters. Dave’s primary focus has been developing a resource that will help bridge the gap between the biblical worldview and the traditional worldview of First Nations. Sally is part of InterAct’s mobilization team with a specific focus on EnGage! (InterAct’s internship program). They live in Olds, Alberta. It is reposted with his permission.

Several years ago, Sally and I saw the Canadian Badlands Passion play in Drumheller, Alberta. It was the story of Easter, a familiar story, but it struck me in an unexpected way this time. As the storyline built to the climax of the trial of Jesus before Pilate, actors depicting the hostile crowd rushed from the stage into the seating area.As they did so, they shouted for Jesus’ death. I felt sucked into the emotion of the moment as an actor yelled into my face, “Crucify him!” Suddenly I felt as if I had become part of that mob, screaming for Jesus’ blood. The thought horrified me, yet I was conscious that that was the reality of my sinful heart.I was no less guilty 2000 years later for Jesus’ death than those who were present at that terrible event. I was no less responsible than Adam and Eve at the very beginning of history when they deliberately chose to disobey God. Surprisingly, after almost 50 years, I still remember the lyrics I heard at a camp in Michigan where I was a counselor. It was the first and only time I listened to the song. Each stanza grapples with the question, “Who killed Jesus?” Who was ultimately responsible for Jesus’ death?

Who killed Jesus? I would like to know.
Who is guilty of a crime so low?
Why did He have to die? What is the reason why?
Who killed Jesus? I would like to know.

Was it Roman Soldiers, with their tools of war?
Pounding nails through hands that did no wrong.
Mocking and abusing, crowning Him with thorns,
All the evidence is very clear.

Was it Pontius Pilate, he was Governor,
Trying to decide the case that day?
Finding that the Saviour had no fault His own,
Was he guilty when he turned away?

Was it Hebrew children, proud of who they were?
Shouting “Crucify Him” to their King.
Rejecting their Messiah for a common thief
Turning down the Kingdom He could bring.

When I think of Jesus, and the way He died,
How upon Him all my sin was lain.
All the other people, fade away from view,
It’s for me the Sacrifice was made.

I no longer wonder anymore,
I have found what I’ve been searching for;
My sin demanded Hell, on Him the judgment fell,
I am guilty, now it’s plain to see, that it was really me!

Today, I am grateful for the reminder of what a lyricist expressed more than 100 years ago: Grace that is greater than all our sin! (Romans 5:20). Contemporary songwriters Matt Boswell and Matt Papa put it this way: “Our sins they are many, His mercy is more.” The message of Christ’s resurrection is proof of that—God’s amazing grace made possible your and my salvation!


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