I find it odd that the Gospels claim that the Jews needed the Romans to execute Jesus but did not need the Romans to execute Stephen or (attempt to execute) the woman caught in adultery.
One excuse I have heard Christian apologists use is that the stoning of Stephen was an act of “mob violence”. It was not condoned by the Jewish authorities. But the author of Acts tells us that Saul (Paul), at the time working for the high priest, stood by and held the coats of those killing Stephen. That would indicate at least tacit approval by the Jewish authorities. And what excuse can be used for the attempt to stone the woman caught in adultery when it was the Pharisees attempting to execute her?
Is it possible that the arrest and execution of Jesus was initiated solely by the Romans? The Jews had nothing to do with it. Had the Jesus’ movement become large enough to be perceived as a threat to the Romans? Were thousands of Jews really proclaiming Jesus as the “Son of David, the King of Israel” on his final entrance into Jerusalem? That sounds pretty threatening to me.
Is it possible that the authors of the Gospels, living under Roman rule and after hearing of the violent and repressive destruction of the Temple, were afraid to directly accuse the Romans of killing Jesus for fear of reprisals against themselves and their fellow Christians? Is it possible that the Jews were a convenient “scapegoat” in their “Jesus Stories”?
Is it possible that the early Christian claim that the Jewish authorities had instigated the execution of Jesus was nothing more than anti-Jewish propaganda???