Life & Teachings of Jesus
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Kathryn Smith
April 18, 2002
"Why Did Jesus Die?"

I.   Commonalities between Apocalyptic Movements & Political Revolution
A.   Have a pessimistic view of history in its present course
1.   Both are tired of sitting around and waiting for things to change
2.   Revolutionists take on fighting
3.   Apocalypticst feverishly seeks God
B.   Imagine a rapid, revolutionary change
C.   Expect the destruction of the present, evil, political system
D.   Have a strong, charismatic leader
E.   Confront political leaders who can't distinguish between active (political) & passive (purely theological and speculative) hopes for change
II.   1Maccabees - Apocalyptic and Political
A.   Time of writing - circa 100 B.C. - Very much shaped Jesus' Time
B.   Actively political and militarist
1.   Fought against the Syrian forces
2.   Saw their fight as mandated by God
3.   Daniel probably written during this time (see Dan 11:31-32; 12:11)
a.   Reflects a conviction of those who lived beside the Maccabeeans that this was the beginning of the end
b.   This fervor was what Jesus was born into
C.   What happened during the revolt
1.   Alexander the Great's kingdom broken up into four kingdoms after his death
2.   The appointed leader, Antiochus, saw the Jews as very pesky and problem-causing
3.   Wanted everyone to worship the same God and have the same customs and values
4.   Antiochus went into the Jewish temple and sacrificed a pig
5.   The Maccabees got fed up with this and were able to take back Jerusalem - they were glorified
III.   Jesus and Political Revolution
A.   Mostly a passive movement - It was up to God to restore righteousness to the corruption of the political system
B.   Yet "passively hostile"
1.   Note purging of the Temple
2.   "Woes" against scribes and Pharisees
3.   Scorn for political leaders - the reasons of great oppression of the poor
4.   Suspicion of the wealthy
a.   It was a zero-sum' game - if I made money, someone lost it
b.   Wealth is not always bad in all societies
IV.   "King of the Jews"
A.   Title "Messiah" implied kingship
1.   Thus Messianic claims automatically viewed as calling for rebellion against Rome
2.   Apocalyptic victory would equal victory over Rome
a.   End of Roman control
b.   God is in - Caesar's out
c.   Angles are in - soldiers are out
B.   Mark 15:12-13, 26 - the inscription on the cross
1.   The crowd had to be calling him the King of the Jews'
a.   It was the buzz that was going around - it was not Pilate's creation
b.   Pilate was a blood thirsty ruler who did not want anyone to challenge his authority
2.   Probably historical - not something the church wanted to claim - too nationalistic
3.   Suppression of nationalistic elements in church history supported suppression of Rome's role in the crucifixion
V.   Rome and the Jews - a Timeline
A.   6 AD - Prefect Coponius order census of all Jewish property
1.   Purpose: to extract more money from the Jews
2.   2 Jewish sages call for revolt - resulted in bloodshed
B.   26 AD - Prefect Pontius Pilate
1.   Known for making no distinction between political and religious dissidents
a.   Had techniques to get what he wanted
b.   Example: would send his soldiers (dressed in common cloths though) to spur up riots within a crowd
2.   Pilate enlists a crony - Caiaphas, High Priest
3.   Caiaphas had a long history of suppressing dissidents
4.   Prefect and High Priest - a common goal - kill every dissent that was capable of taking their power from them
VI.   The Trial - A Timeline
A.   Jesus goes first to Caiaphas and his kangaroo (rigged from the beginning) court
1.   Caiaphas just knows he is some dissent like everyone else and knows Pilate wants him dead
2.   According to Jewish Law they had no authority to crucify anyone
B.   "Crucifixion awaited the revolutionary and charismatic alike" -E. Rivkin
1.   He never stood a chance
2.   The system was rigged - it was inevitable no matter how passive He was
C.   The culprit: The Roman Imperial System
VII.   The "Suffering Servant" - Isaiah 53
A.   Christians turned first to OT to explain Jesus' death
1.   Isa. 53 answers question: "Why Did Jesus Die?"
2.   He had to die; it was necessary (1Peter 1:8-11)
B.   Allowed for later Christian to exonerate Rome
1.   Served the purpose of evangelism
2.   Romans were their prime audience
C.   Allowed Christians to find meaning in meaningless