Why was Jesus crucified? If you asked the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they would have told you it was because he claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God. In other words, Jesus committed blaspheme. Some point to Mark 11:18, right after Jesus cleared the temple, claiming that Jesus was killed over money.

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

Mark 11:18 (NIV)

However, when I think about why Jesus was crucified, what comes to mind is this incident from Acts.

Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed. Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy (emphasis added).

Acts 5:16-17 (NIV)

The religious rulers at the time liked the attention they got.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5 (NIV)

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:2 (NIV)

Jesus consistently preached against receiving earthly rewards when the Pharisees and Sadducees were about earthly recognition. Everything the religious rulers did was to receive recognition. Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t seek glory for himself but for God. That’s why they crucified Jesus, they were jealous.

I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.

John 8:50 (NIV)

This is why, as Christians, we should never seek glory for ourselves because everything we have and do is a gift from God, who ordained it to be.