Ask students, Who killed Jesus?
(Listen to their responses and then affirm or suggest the following five parties.)
1. The Jewish leaders who arrested Jesus and took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, to be crucified. Why did the Jewish leaders want Jesus killed?
The Jewish leaders were jealous of Jesus. They were used to being the leaders, but more and more people were starting to follow Jesus instead of them. They thought Jesus was wrong about the things He was teaching, like the fact that He was God, and wanted the people to listen to them instead.
2. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who ordered that Jesus be crucified. Why did Pilate kill Jesus?
One of the charges the Jewish leaders brought against Jesus was that He was claiming to be the King of the Jews. Since Rome was ruling over Israel at the time, Pilate couldn't let Jesus challenge the Emperor's authority by claiming to be a king. He killed Jesus before Jesus could lead an army and rebel against Rome.
3. God. God sent Jesus to die for all our sins. It was God's plan for Jesus to die, so God is responsible for Jesus' death.
4. Jesus. Jesus willingly died for us. (Read John 10:11-18.)
5. Us. Jesus died for all of our sins. If we had never sinned, He wouldn't have had to die. So we are responsible for Jesus' death.
But God loved us so much, and Jesus loved us so much, that God was willing to send Jesus to die, and Jesus was willing to die, so that we could be forgiven and be with Him forever.