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          His Execution

Why was Jesus executed?  In answering this question in historical terms, we must first look at the events leading up to his arrest and ultimately, his execution.  We know that Jesus performed that symbolic gesture of “cleansing” the temple, by overturning the moneychangers’ tables, and most believe that this act was symbolic of destruction, not purification. 

So in doing this, Jesus obviously made a lot of people mad.  Most obviously were the chief priests in the temple because he did it during Passover (one of the holiest holidays), knowing Pontius Pilate was around for crowd control, and to announce so liberally that the freedom of their people was at hand, would incite a threat to the Roman stronghold.  It is known that Pontius Pilate was not a nice guy to begin with, and he was not happy to be in Jerusalem during its most crowded time of the year.  Passover is a holiday celebrating the Jews freedom from slavery, so he was there as crowd control.   

So all he needed to do was find someone to take his frustrations out on.  Enter Jesus.  The priests basically handed him over to Pilate.  In the gospel of Luke, the priests call Jesus a blasphemer.  Was he turned over to Pilate because of their desire to keep the peace, or was it out of jealousy that maybe Jesus knew something they didn’t, or was it merely out of ignorance?  There is no evidence that he committed some blasphemy, so he was handed over to Pilate for what?  He was a threat to the priests’ stronghold over the temple, if Jesus was right, then there would be no need for them.  As for Pilate, it seems he did his part because the crowd was calling for it.  They traded Jesus for a convicted murderer named Barabbas (gospel of John).   

There has to be another real, solid answer to this question.  Politically, what Jesus preached was a threat to the Roman stronghold.  If the Jews were to believe that their freedom from Roman rule was at hand, and a new order was abounding, they could upraise against the Romans, and their main representative in Jerusalem-Pilate. This being true, what about the priests?  Jesus was a threat to their “religious sensibilities”.  Jesus was a revolutionary.  His ideas did not interact smoothly with those priests’ ideas.  His ideas challenged both the political dominance of the Jews by the Romans, and the priests’ dominance over the temples and the people’s beliefs.  Jesus prompted people to search for the truth.  Rome was not the truth and the priests certainly did not hold the truth within them.  He questioned their authority and they did not like that, some really believed that he was the son of God, and they did not like that either.  He was betrayed, first, by his own people; they bore false witness against Jesus to priests looking for incriminating evidence.

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