Recently I saw a documentary on Planet Green (that’s right, Planet Green) entitled, “Who Framed Jesus?” Normally I would expect to find this kind of documentary on one of the history channels, but I watched it anyway.
Whether or not your are Christian, the title alone should pique your interest as to whether, after all this time, Jesus of Nazareth was really framed.
This documentary goes through numerous scenarios in examining the passion of Jesus including the true nature of Pontius Pilate, who really called the shots in Jerusalem, and whether or not the criminal we know as Barabbas even existed.
All of this calls into question the normal, human motives for wanting to remove a person such as Jesus from power, but is that all there is to this story?
For Christians all over the world, the passion of Jesus is not about what individual or group of people is to blame. In fact, a true understanding of the reason Jesus was crucified and resurrected three days later has nothing to do who ultimately wanted him dead.
Because Christians understand that the true reason for Christ’s suffering was for the one who knew no sin to become sin. And by becoming that sin, the sin of the world past, present, and future, Jesus bridged the gap our sin created between us and God. Our relationship with God had been fractured since the original sin in the Garden of Eden and Jesus’ death and resurrection was the answer to this problem.
If that is the case, then what difference does it make if a Jewish crowd, Pilate, or Herod Anitpas called for the death of Jesus? Theologically speaking, it doesn’t. But what it really reveals is our human desire to see that someone is held responsible on earth for the death of Jesus.
I would argue that for those are merely seeking a human face or faces to put on the death of Jesus, that these same people are missing the point of his earthly ministry and that he would have been crucified, regardless of who called for it. The crucifixion was going to happen; Jesus knew this. The resurrection was going to happen; Jesus knew this. We can be sure of this. The players at the time, Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas, Judas, etc. did as they believed they should. They believed in what they were doing and it is unlikely would have behaved differently even if they had different information given to them.
I submit that, regardless of the accuser, Jesus would have been crucified for any of the following reasons:
– He was looked at as the King of the Jews, the Messiah.
– Multitudes of people followed him, distracting from current Jewish and Roman authorities.
– Jewish authorities felt their power was threatened.
– Jewish authorities saw their power under Roman occupation slipping away.
– King Herod wanted no competition for his earthly kingdom.
– Ultimately, it was predicted and foretold in scripture and was going to happen.
Even if you consider the case that Jesus set himself up, this only tells half of the story. To believe that any of these men or groups of men framed Jesus so that he would be crucified by the end of the week leaves out one important part of the Christian story, the part for which we celebrate Easter, the resurrection.
The resurrection from the dead and ultimately conquering sin and death is not something that any of the men accused of framing Jesus would have considered or allowed to happen, as if they had any control over it.
So, who framed Jesus? Well, we all did. Each and everyone of us who has and will ever lived was responsible for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Though human agents carried out the ultimate punishment, death on the cross, it is our sins for which he died. Regardless of human failings, this was an event that was going to happen and it changed the world. It had to happen. We are all responsible and, therefore, we have all “framed” him.
I suggest that rather looking purely at the historical man of Jesus of Nazareth, but also remember the higher purpose for which he was born.
Who Framed Jesus? Putting the Recent Discovery Channel Special In Perspective
Who Framed Jesus? The Master’s Table