Was Jesus murdered?
The dictionary meaning of the word murder is “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.”
1. Was the killing of Jesus unlawful?
The trial of Jesus Christ was without legal precedent. Jesus was subjected to a secret preliminary examination at night (John 18:12-14, 19-23). Jewish law permitted only daylight proceedings. Also trials in capital cases could only be held at the temple and only in public.
The court illegally switched the charges from blasphemy to treason before Pilate (Luke 23:2) which was a Roman crime, so the Romans would be responsible for His death. Even though no evidence was presented (John 18:29-30) and Pilate saw that Jesus was not guilty (John 18:38; Matt. 27:18), he allowed the crucifixion of an innocent man, without even pronouncing Him guilty!
2. Was it premeditated?
Normally, the word “premeditated” fits into the context of a murderer planning out the murder before actually pulling it off. That certainly happened with Jesus – all throughout the Gospels you can read about the Jews planning to kill Jesus. In fact the conspiracy was so well planned, that the “scribes and the elders” were already “assembled” at Caiaphas’s house and ready to try Jesus even though it was in the middle of the night and the same ones who had conspired against Him were the ones who tried Him!
3. Was it premeditated by man or God?
There’s something even more intriguing. It’s the fact that God the Father and Jesus, His Son, also had it all planned out – it didn’t take them by surprise like a normal murder would.
Jesus said in John 10:18, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father."
Right from the birth of Jesus, we find that He was born to die. The angels even announced Him as the Savior. The Bible says in Revelation 13:8 that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.
Peter repeats this truth in even more detail when he wrote about the precious blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:18-20 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)
It is as if to say, God had taken out an insurance policy before creating mankind. It was a fully comprehensive insurance. That insurance is the blood of Jesus. The main strength of the insurance (just like any normal insurance policy) is that it was taken out before the incident. That is why it covers everything. Jesus' death on the cross was not an afterthought by God, rushed through after the event (of mankind falling into sin). No. It had been settled before.
Was Jesus murdered? No, He willingly gave Himself for us.
“The journey to the cross didn’t begin in Jericho. It didn’t begin in Galilee. It didn’t begin in Nazareth. It didn’t even begin in Bethlehem. The journey to the cross began long before. As the echo of the crunching of the fruit was still sounding in the garden, Jesus was leaving for Calvary.” - Max Lucado
Lord I thank you for willingly going to the cross because you love Me. Help me to willingly die to myself and live for You. Amen