TODAY’S READING: MATTHEW 14-17
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’ And they were greatly distressed.” – Matthew 17:22-23
There are many that believe all mankind should be killed by God because they sinned. But, instead of killing mankind, God sent his son so that he could kill him instead. Therefore, God fulfilled his need for justice by killing Jesus instead of us, for the shedding of blood so that sins could be forgiven. Some go even further, believing that not only did God kill his own son but that it pleased God to torture him on the cross.
But, is God really the one who delivered Jesus to the cross? Is God really the one who killed Jesus?
No and no.
These answers are clear if only we listen to Jesus’ own words and the testimony of the New Testament.
Jesus specifically says in Matthew 17:22-23 that men would kill him. Jesus says the exact same thing in Mark 9:31 and implies the same thing in Luke 9:44. Men, not God, killed Jesus.
Which men killed Jesus? Jews? Gentiles?
Both. All mankind is responsible.
In Matthew 20:18-19, Jesus said, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
The chief priests and scribes were Jews. The Jews condemned Jesus to death. They gave Jesus to the Gentiles.
Pilate and the Roman soldiers were Gentiles. They tortured and executed Jesus.
All are guilty of killing God.
Peter says the same thing in his sermon after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at pentecost. In Acts 2:23, Peter said, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Peter is speaking to the Jews. He says the Jews delivered Jesus to lawless men, that is Gentiles, to be crucified. This is exactly what Jesus said of himself.
We must also keep in mind who has the power of death. Hebrews 2:14 says that Satan is “the one who has the power of death.” According to 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” And, 1 Corinthians 2:8 says, “None of the rules of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
What was it the rulers of this age did not understand?
The secret wisdom of God.
What was the secret wisdom of God?
Not that God would kill his son.
Rather, the secret wisdom of God was that God would be in his son so that when the rulers killed Jesus death would be defeated by God’s own death. Evil would self implode.
God, and Jesus, didn’t do evil to end evil.
God, and Jesus, didn’t kill to end killing.
God, and Jesus, died to end dying.
There is all the difference in the world in these statements.
So, God did not kill Jesus. Neither did God deliver Jesus over to the cross.
If God did not deliver Jesus over, then who did?
In Matthew 17:22, the Greek word for delivered is paradidomi. It means deliver, hand over, betray, give over.
Jesus was delivered. Or, Jesus was betrayed.
Matthew 10:4 (also Mark 3:19) says, “Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him [Jesus].” The Greek word for betrayed is paradidomi.
Matthew 26:14-15 says, “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?'” Again, deliver is paradidomi. Judas asked what he would get from the chief priests if he delivered over, or betrayed, Jesus. And, Matthew 20:19 said it was the chief priests who delivered (paradidomi) Jesus to the Gentiles to be crucified.
Matthew 26:20-25 says, “When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, ‘Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray [paradidomi] me.’ And they were sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, ‘Is it I, Lord?’ He answered, ‘He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray [paradidomi] me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed [paradidomi]! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.’ Judas, who would betray [paradidomi] him, answered, ‘Is it I, Rabbi?’ He said to him, ‘You have said so.'”
Judas is the one who delivered over, betrayed, Jesus to the chief priests. And, the chief priests delivered over Jesus to the Gentiles to be crucified.
Okay. Okay. But, it was God who had Judas deliver over Jesus, right?
Luke 22:3-6 says, “Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [paradidomi] him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray [paradidomi] him to them in the absence of a crowd.”
Satan, not God, was the instigator and initiator of the delivering over, the betraying, of Jesus. And, Satan was the instigator and initiator of the killing of Jesus.
God was not the instigator and initiator of the delivering over and killing of Jesus.
Yes, God did not spare his son (Romans 8:32). Yes, Jesus laid down his life.
But, these statements simply mean God acquiesced to Satan’s and mankind’s plan to kill him. But, God and Jesus did so to defeat death through death (Hebrews 2:14-15).
We must always remember that God was not the one that killed Jesus. Rather, God was in Jesus being killed.
This is so clear if we trust the revelation of Jesus.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of his nature.
Jesus dies and doesn’t kill. Therefore, the same is true of God.
1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
God is good and only good.
A good father would never kill his own son.