Who nailed Jesus to the cross?

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Question: Who nailed Jesus to the cross? What happened to the person or persons who did this? Did God forgive or punish them?

Answer: In a very real sense, we all nailed Jesus to the cross as he died not just for all sins collectively but also the ones you and I commit. Christ is just as much a personal Savior as he is one for the whole world. That said, your question concerns who, in the first century A.D., literally pounded the long nails into Christ's flesh in order to suspend him above the ground as a warning to fear the punishment of Rome.

The only thing we know for sure is that one or more Roman soldiers did the real work of crucifying Jesus. In the first century the Romans occupied Judea and had an official Roman appointed king over the people (Herod the Great was the first appointed king from 37 to 4 B.C.). This means that the Jews in Judea did not have the authority to carry out the death penalty for capital crimes (see John 18:29 - 32). If they had possessed such power, they no doubt would have killed God's son sooner without having to manipulate the hated Romans to kill him.

The Jews who hated the Lord had to send him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judea (26 to 36 A.D.), to have the death sentence carried out. The Romans ultimately made sure the sentence would be carried out completely by having guards around the crosses of those who were condemned (Matthew 27:54).

No record exists of the names of those Roman soldiers who nailed Jesus to the stake. As far as what happened to these people after his death, there is also no historical record. What is ultimately important is that those who killed the Son of God were forgiven, a fact only recorded in the book of Luke (Luke 23:33 - 34).

In closing, here are some things to consider regarding the death of Jesus at Golgotha.

  • The same injustice that condemned the innocent Son of Man also accomplished God's justice

  • The Satanically-inspired plot to murder the Lord became the means mankind could be released from the power of the devil and his deceptions

  • Our Savior's ignominious death through the torture of being nailed the cross became a light of hope to a world living in spiritual darkness

Since the life of Jesus was worth more than the lives of all human beings combined, his death on the cross was more than sufficient to pay for the sins of the world. He now lives as man's constant mediator to God.

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