Why was Jesus sentenced to death and crucified?

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1. Jesus was accused of violating the laws of God, therefore to be a "sinner" and a "blasphemous".

Because he has touched a man with a contagious sickness, which was strictly forbidden. (Mk 1.40-45)

Jesus felt compassion for the sick.

Compassion and willingness to help were more important to him than to observe the laws.

Because he forgave sins (Mark 2: 5) and the scholars said,

He is a blasphemous, because only God can forgive sins through the priesthood.

Jesus shows that every human being is able to and should help others to recover from their guilt problems. He calls on every human being to forgive and to be merciful.

Because he healed a man on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the Sunday of the Jews.

Working on the Sabbath was strictly forbidden. (Mark 3,1-6)

Jesus says, "The Sabbath exists for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2,27)

The religious laws should promote the compassion and the willingness of the people to help - not prevent!

Because he wanted to go to the house of "heathen" or "nonbelievers". (Mark 7,24)


Jesus also looked at "heathen" and believers in other faiths as humans and as "children of God" and did not despise them and did not regard their habitat as "unclean".


2. Because Jesus proclaimed a different notion of God and another notion of His work in the world, he was regarded as a religious heretic teacher.

Because he represents God as a loving Father, who accepts difficult and sinful people mercifully, not as a punishing ruler, who is primarily concerned with the observance of laws. (Lk 15,11ff)

The image of God in the parable of the "merciful Father" is an "anti-story" to the paradise narrative, in which God punishes the disobedient human beings in many ways and drives them out of paradise. (Gen 3)

Because Jesus, in many parables, depicts God as absent, so that men may learn to become independent and responsible stewards of the earth - not servants of God!


The father of the house or the king is gone: (Mt 25:14)

He has surrendered the household, or the "talents", to men: God is inwardly close to man, does not rule from the outside.

God (= the authority) serves man, so that they may become spiritually grown up.

Jesus, with his declaration of God, prevents the usual making people afraid, intimidation, and violence against the faithful in the name of God on the part of the authorities.

God as "Father": Parents serve the children so that they may grow up.

He protects the adulteress from stoning and protects the woman at the Jacob’s well from the contempt of her fellow men. (John 7: 3ff, Joh 4: 1ff)

The "kingdom of God" does not come in the future through an abrupt, violent intervention of God and is not prepared by the violence of the faithful.

The Kingdom of God

- is already "in you" and "in the midst of you" (Luke 17:21)

- is already in the breaking (Mark 1,15)

- it comes like the growth of seeds and like the sour dough, which acidifies the flour (Luke 13:20-21)

3. Because he questioned that God favors the Jewish people only and also saw the work of God in the people of other peoples and religions. He thereby shakes the foundation of the self-consciousness of the Jewish people.

Jesus: "The last shall be the first." (Lk 13,30)

Who despises the "heathen" is worse than them!

Parable of the wedding meal (Luke 14: 14-24)

The invited people have not appeared, now the people are invited from everywhere.

Jesus also helps heathens (through cures) (Mk 7)

Healing experienced meant: being loved by God

He introduces a heretic (Samaritan) as a model for a God-pleasing behavior. (Lk 15)

He who does good shows that God works in him - even if he is not "officially believing"!

There are people who say no to God, but rather fulfill the will of God than many believers.

See the "Parable of the Two Brethren"

(Mt 21: 28-31)

To belong to the "people chosen by God" does not mean to put one self internally above the others, but to be the tool of God for justice and peace for all peoples.

This is why Jesus helps pagan people, recognizing within them a belief that he does not always find with the Jews: the Roman leader (Matt. 8:10) and the Syro-Phenician woman.


4. Because he seduces the people to disobey the laws.

He was a seducer of the people because he educated the ordinary people for critical thinking.


Because Jesus taught the people through parables, so that they could independently decide on moral and religious questions, also to assess the validity and meaningfulness of existing laws.

The high priest said, "The people who understand nothing of the law - cursed is it" (John 7:49)

When Jesus educates the simple people to independent and critical thinking, he turns the people against them in the eyes of the authorities.

Because he understood the role and the task of the leaders anew and criticized the authority exercised by the religious leaders and national leaders of that time as incapacitating and unhelpful.

"Do not be called masters, father, or teachers" (Mt 23: 9)

"They are blind guides" (Mt 15:14, 23:24)

"They have taken the key to the world of God!"

In Jesus, the authorities must lead people to more maturity and self-responsibility.

Jesus respects the laws, but teaches to recognize their meaning and to fulfill it.

He teaches to keep laws, deliberately and responsibly but not compulsively.

He teaches to live more directly with awakened senses and with a critical mind than to study only the Holy Scriptures.

Jesus defends the picking of the ears of corn of His disciples on the Sabbath.

(Mk 2,23-28)

"If your righteousness is not greater than that of the scribes ..." (Mt 5,20)

The words "obedience" and "obeying" are never seen in the mouth of Jesus as moral demands for men - but he tells many parables and words that call for independent judgment and loving responsibility!




5. Because he vehemently criticized the ruthlessness and narrow-mindedness of the leaders of religion, priests and scribes, thereby destroying their prestige and authority.

Jesus' accusation: They have no sense for the current life of the people: they do not recognize what people suffer and what helps them.

They narrow their lives by means of laws and regulations unnecessarily, instead of helping them solve their problems.

They are based on outdated laws and beliefs and do not live in the present.

They want to punish people who have done something wrong, instead of helping them.

"They are like whitewashed graves." (Mt 23:27)

"They impose heavy burdens on men, instead of removing the obsolete burdens of religion" (Mt 23,4):

Religion thus becomes a burden to their lives rather than a life-aid.

In the parable of the merciful Samaritan: the religious authorities overlook the most important:

The compassionate love in action! (Luke 10)



Manfred Hanglberger (www.hanglberger-manfred.de)


Link to share: https://hanglberger-manfred.de/karfreitag-why-was-jesus-crucified.htm

>> Other English texts

>> Der Kreuzestod Jesu in seiner erlösenden Wirkung


>> The crucifixion of Jesus in his redeeming effect



Why was Jesus sentenced to death and crucified