Why Was Jesus Executed?

Retraction. It did not take long for a few of our readers to point out an egregious error in last week’s edition. If you remember, we talked about the difficulty in knowing what really happened ‘back in the day’ because of errors in “translation from Arabic (the spoken word in Jesus’ area and time) to Greek to Latin to English.”

OMG. We said that Jesus’ language was Arabic when it was really Aramaic. The letters to the editor were overwhelming. And management at 3BT has had a word with the Quality Assurance supervisor. 

Moving on. We talked about Judas a few weeks back. But this week we focus on why Jesus was executed and what part Judas may have played in it. We don’t do theology here at 3BT (except for an occasional metaphysical rambling). So we will focus on the possible legal/political reasons behind it.

  • Was Jesus executed for calling himself the King of the Jews? All four gospels claim that Jesus called himself the King of the Jews. But all four gospels are also clear that Jesus never called himself King of the Jews in public before his trial and crucifixion.
  • Where did he say it then? He said it only among his inner circle — the 12 disciples. Why? Because he knew that if he made such a brash statement in public, the authorities (either the Romans or the Jewish Sanhedrin) would get all goosey and likely punish him.
  • Soooo, how did Pilate (or the Jewish Sanhedrin) make that connection?  Professor Bart Ehrman speculates that it was Judas who reported Jesus’ statements about being a King to the authorities. Judas would have been in the inner circle. And for whatever reason, which we will speculate on next week, he reports out.

It’s also worth noting that Jesus thought his return would be imminent — within the same lifetime as everybody present. But that’s a whole other rabbit trail for another Thursday.

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