Why was Jesus Condemned to Death on the Cross?

Author: editorial staff

The gospels tell us that hatred was the main reason for Christ’s crucifixion (cf. Mk 15:10) – a hatred prompted by the fact that Jesus behaved and taught as one who partook of the power and authority of God Himself (cf. Mk 15:10).


Jesus made it clear to his listeners that He was divine. By forgiving sins (cf. Mk 1:22) and claiming lordship over the Sabbath (Mt 12:8), He ascribed to Himself the attributes of God. The scribes and Pharisees reacted immediately by seeking to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God (Jn 5:18). They said to Him: We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God (Jn 10:33). When Jesus said: Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (Jn 8:58), He was clearly affirming His divinity, since he claimed the name of God: Yahweh – I AM. We are told that they took up stones to throw at Him, but this time Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple Jn (8:59).
The final decision to put Jesus to death was made after the raising of Lazarus in Bethany. At a meeting of the council, the chief priests and Pharisees observed: this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation (Jn 11:47-48). From that day on - we are told - they took counsel how to put him to death (Jn 11:53). After Jesus was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the chief priest Caiaphas said to Him: I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said so (Mt 26:63-64; cf. Mk 14: 62; Lk 22:70). To the members of the Sanhedrin this was open blasphemy. Jesus admitted to being God, and for this they all condemned him as deserving death (Mk 14:64). The sentence could only be carried out by permission of Rome’s deputy, Pontius Pilate. Even though Pilate was convinced of Jesus’ innocence, he bowed to the pressure mounted by the Sanhedrin and the mob and agreed to His crucifixion for fear of incurring Caesar’s displeasure.
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