Did Jesus of Nazareth engineer his own crucifixion? Just in time for Easter, the National Geographic Channel's program, Mysteries of the Bible, has done some sleuthing and suggests it's possible. What the episode, titled "Who Really Killed Jesus?", really gives viewers is a keen insight into the modern secular mind.
In whodunit fashion, the show walks through all the likely suspects in Jesus' death: Pontius Pilate, the Sanhedrin and Herod Antipas. All three may or may not be culpable in Jesus's crucifixion -- the program is careful not to draw any definitive conclusions, but its narrative certainly points to Pilate and Herod as the more likely culprits, which contradicts biblical accounts.
The kicker is the show's last segment, which speculates that Jesus himself may have rigged the events that led to his execution. In essence, Jesus had the means and the motive to make his crucifixion a fait accompli. According to the segment narrative, Jesus may have colluded with Judas Iscariot, confederates in Jerusalem and pitched a fit at the Temple all to fulfill prophecy.
But what would that make Jesus of Nazareth if he did orchestrate his own death, a prophet, the Son of God or a charlatan? By scheming, what would Jesus be, other than deluded or unethical? Can we conclude that Jesus, an obscure itinerant preacher, suffered illusions of grandeur? Did he suffer from some form of narcissism? Is Christianity based on a fraud and a lie?
Is the supposition that Jesus was the culprit in his own death the secularist's viewpoint? If not, then was Jesus an innocent who was the victim of a series of coincidences? If so, how does that explain biblical accounts that Jesus foretold his fate? Is the Bible a book of lies?
Today in the United States, the more virulent form of secularism seeks to scourge religion (Christianity and Judaism especially) and expunge God from the public square. Many secularists either deliberately ignore the fact that God's blessing was sought - prominently and abundantly -- by the men who founded the nation or they attempt to reconstruct history, rationalizing and torturing the facts to fit their aims.
"Who Really Killed Jesus?" is a provocative glimpse into the secular mind. The episode first aired in March and will air again on the National Geographic Channel on Saturday, April 17, 4:00 pm. (Eastern).