To the question, Who crucified Jesus?, the New Testament gives us four distinct answers: the Jews, the Romans, the human race – and God! The first answer tells the tragedy of a people who, despite their long preparation in providence and grace, failed to recognise their true Messiah and rejected him. The second reminds us that the contempt against Christ was the calculated response of the Gentile world to the King of Love, not just a Jewish response, Acts 4:24-27. The third answer summons us all to the bar of God and, refusing to let the world’s greatest crime lie conveniently buried in history, insists that we all bear a real and full responsibility for the crucifying of the Son of God, since we all be nature willingly share in the God-resenting depravity which hated and slew him, Rom 8:7f.
However, it is the fourth reply which provides the ultimate answer to the question, Who crucified Jesus? For the cross is not simply or even primarily the result of the malice of men, but is the work of God. Secretly, unsearchably, but nonetheless certainly, God’s mastering love moved behind the malice of men. They did their worst – but in their worst God did his best. Out of different motives, all of them bad, Judas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and the soldiers all united to accomplish God’s unutterably good will!
It is a fundamental and repeated doctrine of the New Testament that we have in the death of Christ not merely the hand of men, but principally the hand of God. Christ’s death was neither an accident, nor even a martyrdom, but a sacrifice.
Peter Lewis, The Glory of Christ, p273