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Why did the Jews want Jesus to die?

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2013-07-18 06:55:54
2013-07-18 06:55:54

Answer 1 - Christian Perspective

He was threatening their power. The excuse that they used to legalize his death on the cross was he had blasphemed by saying he was the son of God.

Answer 2 - Christian Perspective

A good question. Actually, it was the Pharisees and the Sadducees that wanted Jesus to die. They wanted it because they had absolute control over all the Jews through their religious rules and customs. In other words, they really liked the easy life they had (They were invited to every party and sat at the head of the table of course, had lots and lots of money they skimmed off the top of the religious offerings and basically, whatever they said was done without question) and didn't want Jesus coming in and taking it away from them. So, they forced the Romans to kill him by saying there was only one God (which was Ceasar) and this guy (Jesus) says he's God so by your own rules (Ceasars law) you must crucify him. That's it in a nut shell. Ummm, read the book of "John" for better understanding.

Answer 3 - Christian Perspective

What was the charge preferred against him?

All: Blasphemy.

Jesus, it was charged, had declared himself to be the son of God. This, if true, would not have constituted blasphemy. It was no offense against the law for a man to claim that he was the son of God. All men, and especially all good men, were recognized as the sons of God. Referring to Christ's claim, a Jewish writer says: "No law, no precedent, and no fictitious case in The Bible or the rabbinical literature, can be cited to make of this expression a case of blasphemy." And even if he had been proven guilty of blasphemy, he could not have been put to death, for blasphemy, at this time, had ceased to be a capital offense. And is it reasonable to suppose that the Romans would have condemned a man to death for an offense against a religion in which they did not themselves believe, but which they regarded as one of the vilest of superstitions? It may be urged that in his trial before Pilate the charge was changed to sedition. This charge was not sustained.

Answer 4 - Neutral Perspective

Could it be the Romans wanted Him dead for overturning money tables and scaring everyone out of the temple with the whip made of cords while claiming He was the Son of God? Just a question...

Answer 5 - Jewish Perspective

This is a Christian blood libel and perhaps the most central one. Is it true that Jews disagreed with Jesus? Yes, and quite fervently. There is even a discussion in the Talmud on the issue of Jesus (although it is unclear if this is a later edit-job or part of the original text). The Rabbis come to conclusion that he is heretic and that he merits stoning.

However, the act of plotting to actually commit murder is far removed from these discussions and more serious. There are many debates in the Talmud concerning both historical individuals and alleged stories like the Oven of Achnai. This does not mean that those events actually happened, only that the thought experiment of "what would happen under these circumstances" was done. The New Testament makes a number of simple errors about Jewish jurisprudence on such matters. For example, it claims that the Sanhedrin convened on Passover to condemn Jesus. However, the leaders of the Sanhedrin followed the letter of the law to a fault (Jesus even reprimands them for it) and one of the laws is that the Sanhedrin can never meet on a holiday, especially one as central as Passover. Secondly, they allude to a connection between the High Priests and the Sanhedrin in agreeing on what actions to take on Jesus. There was an intense political fight between the High Priests and the Rabbis of the Sanhedrin as to the future direction of Judaism. The High Priests were more corrupt and elitist. The Rabbis were more earnest and populist. There is no reason that the High Priests would not wish to keep Jesus preaching if his populist approach would weaken the appeal of the Rabbis.

As for exacting the death penalty, even if the events leading up Jesus' execution were as the New Testament records them, no Jew would sanction an execution by crucifixion. There are only four acceptable implementations of capital punishment in Judaism that are strongly regulated: decapitation, quick strangulation, quick strangulation with internal burning, and stoning. There is complete rejection of any form of capital punishment that uses piercings to kill or leaves the criminal to suffer for hours on end. Crucifixion is in both categories and was a uniquely Roman punishment.

The claim that the Romans plotted against Jesus and had him crucified is much stronger. The Messiah of that period was understood the way that Jews still understand this concept: an Earthly King who would establish a Jewish Kingdom. Necessarily, therefore, Jesus was going to have to raise an army or commit some political intrigue to achieve this goal. The Romans were likely afraid that Jesus would try to lead a rebellion to free Judea from Roman occupation. This fear would prove justified when another Messianic Candidate, Bar Kochba, would actually lead a revolt against the Romans that ended disastrously for the Jews. In order to prevent Jesus from taking that power, the Romans pre-emptively sought him out and questioned if he was the King of Jews, i.e. someone actively trying to create a Jewish Kingdom in defiance of Rome. When they received answers that troubled them, they chose to execute him in the traditional Roman manner of execution. Pontius Pilate is mentioned in several sources outside of the Bible. In each, he is considered a cruel and vicious man who delighted in executions. Why would he spare the rod here when there was such an obvious threat?

As Rome was the dominant world power during the period of the early Church and Judaism was seen as the "adversary" of early Christianity for rejecting Jesus' Messianic Nature, the Church transferred what should have been hatred for the Roman Leadership into hatred of the Jews and worked assiduously to create a narrative that would paint the Romans as weak and powerless to stop Jewish tyranny when it was Jews as a population who were unable to stop Roman tyranny.

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