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Book: The Day Jesus the Christ Died

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Since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in 30 AD until our day, people have questioned who killed Jesus Christ. Was it the Jews? Was it the Jewish priesthood? Was it the Romans? The answers to these questions are found in the Scriptures themselves, conveying the awesome love, power and plan of God in His intimate dealings with mankind.

Jesus Christ’s Sacrificial Death
Planned From the Beginning

Before the creation of the world, God the Father had His predetermined plan of redemption and salvation through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Who was the “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) for the sins of the whole world—all mankind (I John 2:2). In fulfilling this as well as hundreds of other prophecies, God the Father demonstrated His love by sending His Son: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).

The apostle Paul wrote of God’s divine plan of salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He has made to abound toward us in all wisdom and intelligence; having made known to us the mystery of His own will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; that in the divine plan for the fulfilling of the times … Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:7-11).

Jesus Voluntarily Laid Down His Life: Because no man has power over God, nor can anyone command God or exercise authority over Him—whether in heaven or on earth—Jesus made it clear that in the fulfilling of God’s plan He would voluntarily lay down His own life, saying, “I am the good Shepherd, and I know those who are Mine, and am known of those who are Mine. Just as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep … No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down and authority to receive it back again. This commandment I received from My Father’ ” (John 10:14, 18).

On the night of Jesus’ last Passover, as He and the apostles were walking to the Garden of Gethsemane, He began to explain many things to them. Most importantly, He expressed His profound love for them as friends, for whom He was going to lay down His life: “This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends because I have made known to you all the things that I have heard from My Father” (John 15:12-15).
In spite of the fact that Jesus willingly laid down His life to suffer death by beating, scourging and crucifixion, the men who were involved had their part in killing Him. As we will see, they were instruments of God to fulfill His will. Those directly involved were: Judas Iscariot; the high priest Caiaphas and the Jewish religious authorities; the Roman governor Pontius Pilate; the Jewish people who demanded that He be crucified; and the Roman soldiers who beat, scourged and crucified Him.

Judas Iscariot: When Jesus personally chose Judas Iscariot, He knew that he would betray Him and deliver Him up to the Jewish and Roman authorities (Mark 3:19). On another occasion, Jesus told the twelve, “ ‘Did I not choose you twelve, and one of you is the devil?’ Now He spoke of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son; for he was about to betray Him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:70-71).

Before Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, he covenanted with the chief priests to do so for thirty pieces of silver—the price of a dead slave: “Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said, ‘What are you willing to give me, and I will deliver Him up to you?’ And they offered him thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought an opportunity to betray Him” (Matt. 26:14-16).

During Jesus’ last Passover, when the time came for Judas to betray Him, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, one of you shall betray Me, even he who is eating with Me … The Son of man indeed goes, just as it has been written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born” (Mark 14:18, 21). Then Jesus dipped the sop and gave it to Judas, and Satan entered into him. He immediately departed to betray Jesus to the priests (John 13:26). At midnight, as Judas was receiving the band of soldiers who came to arrest Jesus, Caiaphas and the religious authorities were undoubtedly assembling for their final judgment against Jesus. For his part in killing Jesus, Judas hanged himself (Matt. 26:5).

Caiaphas the High Priest and the Jewish Religious Authorities: After the spectacular miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish religious authorities—the priests, the Levites, the scribes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees—were fearful that the Romans would remove them from power. Consequently, they held a special council and decided to kill Jesus: “Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this man does many miracles. If we allow Him to continue in this manner, all will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away from us both this place and the nation.’ But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You have no understanding, nor consider that it is better for us that one man die for the people, than that the whole nation should perish.’ Now he did not say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation; and not for the nation only, but also that He might gather together into one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Therefore, from that day they took counsel together, so that they might kill Him” (John 11:47-53).

As both the leaders and the supreme court of the Jewish nation, Caiaphas and the religious authorities of the Sanhedrin were the only ones who had the authority to condemn Jesus to death. They did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, the anointed Messiah of God, and falsely accused Him of blasphemy when He declared that He was (Matt. 26:63-66; Mark 14:60-64). Although God the Father was fulfilling His will, Caiaphas and the Jewish religious authorities had their part in conspiring to kill Jesus. Because they were forbidden by the Romans to execute anyone, they turned Him over to Pontius Pilate for Roman judgment and crucifixion.

From the time of John the Baptist until His crucifixion, the priests and religious authorities had had nearly four years to repent and believe that Jesus was the Christ—the anointed Messiah of God. Because they did not, in the days before His crucifixion, Jesus gave them a final warning: “ ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures, “The Stone that the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner. This was from the Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes”? Because of this, I say to you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and it shall be given to a nation that produces the fruits of it. And the one who falls on this Stone [in repentance] shall be broken; but on whomever it shall fall [because of failure to repent], it will grind him to powder.’ Now after hearing His parables, the chief priests and the Pharisees knew that He was speaking about them. And they sought to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the multitudes, because they held Him as a prophet” (Matt. 21:42-46).

Just as they did not heed John the Baptist’s warning or Jesus’ warnings during His three and one-half year ministry, they did not heed His final warning. They viewed Jesus as a competitor (John 12:19) and were mostly concerned with maintaining their power and religious authority. Although some secretly believed that He was the Messiah, they refused to repent and confess Him: “But even so, many among the rulers believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God” (John 12:42-43).

In the greatest act of mercy, Jesus personally offered them forgiveness while He was dying on the cross as they taunted and ridiculed Him (Luke 23:43), but they did not accept it. However, if they had chosen to repent, they would have fulfilled the will of God for those who repent and believe, rather then receiving the judgment of God unto condemnation.

After Jesus’ resurrection, through the witness of the apostles, the chief priests and Jewish religious authorities had many opportunities to repent and to accept the forgiveness that Jesus had extended to them while He was dying on the cross. In Acts 4 and 5, the apostles were arrested and brought before Caiaphas, the priests and the full Sanhedrin. The apostles witnessed to them that Jesus Christ was the Savior, the Son of God. Although the chief priests refused to repent and believe, a multitude of priests did (Acts 6:7).

Later, Stephen was brought before them in what might have been their final witness. They resisted his words, also, and killed him as described in the account in Acts: “ ‘O stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so also do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of Whom you have become the betrayers and murderers; Who received the law by the disposition of angels, but have not kept it.’

“And when they heard these things, they were cut to their hearts, and they gnashed their teeth at him. But he, being filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul. And they stoned Stephen, who called upon God, saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he fell to his knees and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge.’ And after he had said this, he died” (Acts 7:51-60).

So heated was the exchange between Stephen and the members of the Sanhedrin, it is recorded that Jesus Christ was standing at the right hand of God in heaven intently watching the whole incident transpire. Yet, they still did not repent and believe. Therefore, they suffered the harsh judgment of God for rejecting Jesus Christ as the anointed Messiah, the Son of God, and for instigating His death by crucifixion. In 70 AD, God’s final judgment came. The city of Jerusalem and its Temple were destroyed by the Roman armies.

Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor: After Caiaphas and the religious authorities had condemned Jesus to death, they brought Him to Pontius Pilate. The Roman governor was the only one who could condemn Jesus to be crucified, as He had prophesied (John 8:28; 12:32, 34). Although secular histories record that Pontius Pilate was a harsh, vicious ruler, many critics have complained that in the film, The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson, he was depicted as a wimp. While it is undoubtedly true that Pilate was an oppressive, cruel ruler, such criticisms about his wimpiness reveal a lack of knowledge about the biblical account and the power of God to carry out His will.

While the Jewish authorities condemned Jesus to death because He claimed to be the Son of God, when they brought Jesus before Pilate they falsely accused Him of subverting the nation and making Himself a king. When Pilate questioned Jesus, he did not find any fault against Him. Several times Pilate was willing to let Him go, knowing that the Jewish leaders had had Him arrested because of envy. Moreover, Pilate’s wife had a dream about Jesus and warned her husband not to have anything to do with condemning “this righteous man” (Matt. 27:19). Jesus also told Pilate that those who had delivered Him up had the greater sin (John 19:11).

By the time Pilate offered to release Jesus, a huge crowd had gathered that was demanding Jesus’ crucifixion and Barabbas’ release. Pilate, wanting to appease the priests and the crowd in order to avoid a riot, had Jesus beaten and scourged. Then he released Barabbas to them, and the soldiers led Jesus away to be crucified.

For his part in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Pontius Pilate received the judgment of God. In 36 AD, he was recalled to Rome by Tiberius for the ruthless slaughter of thousands of pilgrims. However, Tiberius died before Pilate arrived, and Caligula was Emperor. He exiled Pilate to Gaul, where, in public disgrace, Pilate committed suicide in 38 AD.

The Jewish People: At the instigation of the priests and the religious authorities, a crowd of Jewish people gathered to demand that Jesus be crucified. In a public show before the people, Pilate washed his hands to demonstrate that he was guiltless of Jesus’ blood—but he was not. All the people shouted, “His blood be upon us and our children” (Matt. 27:23).

To this day, the Jews detest and reject this record. All denials and claims to the contrary, the historical record is true, and the people did make this statement. But, as we will see, this statement does not apply only to the Jews in the crowd, who uttered those words when Jesus was condemned; it also applies to every human being because all have sinned (Rom. 3:9-10, 19) and are guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ. We must never forget that, while Jesus was dying on the cross, He personally offered forgiveness to those who condemned Him and participated in His death, saying, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

After Jesus’ Resurrection Forgiveness Was Offered to All: The day after Jesus’ resurrection, He revealed Himself to His apostles and disciples and commanded them to preach the gospel of repentance and remission of sins. “And [He] said to them, ‘According as it is written, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And in His name, repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. For you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46-48).

At the Temple in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost fifty days later, God inspired the apostles to preach repentance and forgiveness to the very ones who had killed Christ: “ ‘Men, Israelites, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarean, a man sent forth to you by God, as demonstrated by works of power and wonders and signs, which God performed by Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know; Him, having been delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you have seized by lawless hands and have crucified and killed. But God has raised Him up, having loosed the throes of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it … Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with full assurance that God has made this same Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’

“Now after hearing this, they were cut to the heart; and they said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call.’ And with many other words he earnestly testified and exhorted, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who joyfully received his message were baptized; and about three thousand souls were added that day” (Acts 2:22-24, 36-41). Undoubtedly, many of those who repented and were baptized were the very ones who, less than two months earlier, were shouting with the rest of the crowd: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

Twice in the weeks and months that followed, the apostles were arrested by the authorities for performing miracles and preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When they were brought before the high priests and the full Sanhedrin of religious leaders, the apostles witnessed to them that they were responsible for killing Jesus (Acts 4:6-23; 5:17-23). They did not repent in spite of the apostles’ witness.
Yet, in Jerusalem alone, as the apostles continued to preach, heal the sick and perform miracles “…the Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was multiplied exceedingly, and a great multitude of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Multiple thousands of Jews believed, repented and received forgiveness, becoming heirs of salvation through Jesus Christ—the one Whom they had killed.

Unfortunately, the majority of the Jewish religious leaders did not repent. Yet, God gave them a third powerful witness through Stephen, whose stinging testimony moved them to kill him (Acts 7). After Stephen was martyred the Jews launched major persecution against the Jewish Christians (Acts 8 and 9).

In His mercy, God gave the rest of the Jewish nation 40 years to repent and believe. Multiple thousands did, but the majority did not. Consequently, true to the prophecies of Jesus, the Roman armies destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem. Hundreds of thousands of Jews died, and the survivors were carried into captivity and dispersed throughout the Roman Empire.

True to Jesus’ final warning, those who were directly involved in His crucifixion and who did not repent suffered the judgment of God. Those who accepted His forgiveness when the apostles preached to them received mercy and remission of sins through His sacrifice, as Jesus said in His final warning, “And the one who falls on this Stone shall be broken [in repentance]; but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matt. 21:44).

A Biblical Perspective of
Who Killed Jesus Christ

From a human point of view, it is natural to think that greater blame and condemnation should be placed on those who were directly involved in Jesus’ death. This may be true; however, we need to remember that they were carrying out God’s will in fulfilling the many prophecies about the Messiah, even though they did not realize it.

Before Jesus was crucified, He was beaten and scourged, as Isaiah prophesied (Isa. 50:7-8). So vicious was His scourging that Jesus was hardly recognizable. His body was literally ripped to shreds, with His flesh hanging from the lashings of the scourging whip, exposing His ribs (Isa. 52:14; Psa. 22:17). Jesus was beaten because God the Father laid upon Him the sins of the whole world (Isa. 53:5-6, 11). He was led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7).

The apostle John wrote that those who condemned Jesus to death were fulfilling the will of God. After Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin condemned Him: “… they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the judgment hall, and it was early … Therefore, Pilate came out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ They answered and said to him, ‘If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.’ Then Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and judge Him according to your own law.’ But the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death’; so that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He had spoken to signify by what death He was about to die” (John 18:28-32).

Upon questioning, Jesus told Pilate that He was indeed born to be a king, but His kingdom was not of this world. After Pilate heard this he again went out and told the Jews that he found no fault in Him. But the crowd would not listen to him and demanded that Jesus be crucified and Barabbas released (verses 33-40).

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged Him. And after platting a crown of thorns, the soldiers put it on His head; and they threw a purple cloak over Him, and kept on saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they struck Him with the palms of their hands. Then Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Behold, I bring Him out to you, so that you may know that I do not find any fault in Him.’ Then Jesus went out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak; and he said to them, ‘Behold the man!’

“But when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried aloud, saying, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and crucify Him because I do not find any fault in Him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to our law it is mandatory that He die, because He made Himself the Son of God.’ Therefore, when Pilate heard this saying, he was even more afraid. And he went into the judgment hall again, and said to Jesus, ‘Where have You come from?’ But Jesus did not give him an answer.

“Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Why don’t You speak to me? Don’t You know that I have authority to crucify You, and authority to release You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would not have any authority against Me if it were not given to you from above. For this reason, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.’

"Because of this saying, Pilate sought to release Him; but the Jews cried out, saying, ‘If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.’ Therefore, after hearing this saying, Pilate had Jesus led out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement; but in Hebrew, Gabbatha … And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried aloud, ‘Away, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ Therefore, he then delivered Him up to them so that He might be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him away [to be crucified]” (John 19:1-16).

Thus all those involved in killing Jesus Christ were unwittingly fulfilling the Scriptures. John wrote in seven additional places that everything was done to fulfill the will and the Word of God (John 12:38; 15:25; 17:12; 18:9; 19:24, 28, 36). Although they were carrying out the will of God, they were still guilty of and would be held accountable for directly participating in the murder of Christ. Yet, as we have seen, Jesus offered them forgiveness while He was dying on the cross because what they had done was not an unpardonable sin.

A Prophetic View of Those Directly
Involved in Crucifying Jesus

The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews, “But now, once and for all, in the consummation of the ages, He has been manifested for the purpose of removing sin through His sacrifice of Himself…. By Whose will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 9:26; 10:10). The unique sacrifice of Jesus Christ was the one offering for sin for all time—all human sin—past, present and future.

From the beginning the apostles had a prophetic view of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ because after His resurrection He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45). When the apostles were arrested and appeared before the Sanhedrin, they gave a profound witness about Jesus Christ (Acts 4:5-23). After they returned, they reported to the brethren all that had transpired, and they all praised God by referring to Psalm Two: “And when they heard this, they lifted up their voices to God with one accord and said, ‘O Master, You are the God Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that are in them, Who by the mouth of Your servant David did say, “Why did the nations insolently rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.” For of a truth they did gather together against Your holy Son, Jesus, Whom You did anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel had predetermined to take place’ ” (Acts 4:24-28).

It is clear from these scriptures that from a prophetic view, those directly involved in killing Jesus Christ represented more than themselves.
Caiaphas and the Religious Rulers: While the priesthood and the religious leaders had the law of Moses and the order of God’s Temple service in Jerusalem, they actually rejected the commandments of God by observing their own traditions as Jesus said: “Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from Me.’ But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. For leaving the commandment of God, you hold fast the tradition of men … Full well do you reject the commandment of God, so that you may observe your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).

Because of this they were no different than the pagan religions of the world. As such then, apostate Judaism, in prophetic type represented all the religions of the world in the persons of Caiaphas and the religious rulers.

Pontius Pilate and Herod: God gave to the prophet Daniel the prophecies of all the governments of the world from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to the return of Jesus Christ. At the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire, represented by the fourth beast of Daniel 7, was the ruling power in the world. Therefore, as rulers of Rome, Pontius Pilate and Herod in prophetic type represented all the governments and nations of the world.

The Jewish People: The Jewish people living in Judea and Jerusalem, the city where God had placed His name, were the remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel. However, the crowd of Jews, who had gathered before Pilate to demand that Jesus be crucified, in prophetic type represented all the people of the world.

Thus, Psalm Two was fulfilled when Jesus Christ was condemned to death and crucified on that fateful day—the Passover day 30 AD.

Every Human Being Had a
Part in Killing Jesus Christ

How can those who were not even there or had not yet been born be held accountable? God has decreed, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4, KJV), or literally, “Everyone who practices sin is also practicing lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.”

In his epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23). Since Christ died for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2), this means that all are guilty of killing Jesus Christ—guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ—and not just the Jews who uttered the words, “Let His blood be upon us and our children.” Spiritually speaking, because of sin, all human beings have the blood of Jesus Christ upon them.

Paul charges that all are under sin—Jews and Gentiles—and no one is exempt: “… we have already charged both Jews and Gentiles—ALL—with being under sin, exactly as it is written: ‘For there is not a righteous one—not even one! There is not one who understands; there is not one who seeks after God’ … Now then, we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law [because all have sinned], so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:9-11, 19).

The apostle Peter wrote: “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps Who committed no sin; neither was guile found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when suffering, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him Who judges righteously; Who Himself bore our sins within His own body on the tree [the cross]…. Christ indeed once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God; on the one hand, He was put to death in the flesh; but on the other hand, He was made alive by the Spirit” (I Pet. 2:21-24; 3:18).

Who is guilty of killing Jesus Christ? The whole world! It was not only those who were directly involved when Jesus was crucified, but beginning with Adam and Eve, every human being—past, present and future—is guilty of killing Jesus Christ. All people, all nations, all religions are guilty of killing Jesus Christ because they are walking contrary to the laws and commandments of God. They have been deceived by Satan the devil, who is the god of this world (Rev. 12:9; II Cor 4:4).

Because of this human condition, the love of God the Father and Jesus Christ was demonstrated not only because Jesus laid down His life to die but also because He did so while we were still enemies of God: “For even when we were without strength, at the appointed time Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man. But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8)
The full meaning of the day that Jesus the Christ died—as our Passover lamb on the Passover day—is summed up by the apostle Paul when he wrote to the Gentiles in Corinth: “For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).