This is a very difficult passage in the New Testament. My contention is that the earliest Christians were Jews, otherwise Christianity would not have evolved in the synagogues for the first decades of its existence.
Christianity came out of the Jewish synagogue. These were the very people that Paul preached to as he traveled from city to city, approaching synagogues where those that read the Hebrew Bible congregated, working to show them that the Jesus of Nazareth was the long awaited messiah (see Acts 13 for example).
Who was to blame for the death of Jesus? To me, it doesn’t really matter. Probably the best answer to this question comes to us from the Book of Mormon. In 3rd Nephi we read:
Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn. (3 Nephi 29:8)
Earlier in the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells his readers that:
“…as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God of Israel. And because they turn their hearts aside, saith the prophet, and have despised the Holy One of Israel, they shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and a byword, and be hated among all nations. Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers.” (1 Nephi 19:13-15)
So the Book of Mormon adds a layer to the text of the New Testament. Yes, the Jews, or at least the leaders of these people, brought about the crucifixion of Jesus, but the day will come when the Lord will remember his covenant with them. They are his people. There will be a reconciliation.
I have the following quote by Frederic Farrar moving:
“Has not His blood been on them, and on their children? Has it not fallen most of all on those most nearly concerned in that deep tragedy? Before the dread sacrifice was consummated, Judas died in the horrors of a loathsome suicide. Caiaphas was deposed the year following. Herod died in infamy and exile. Stripped of his Procuratorship very shortly afterwards, on the very charges he had tried by a wicked concession to avoid, Pilate, wearied out with misfortunes, died in suicide and banishment, leaving behind him an execrated name. The house of Annas was destroyed a generation later by an infuriated mob, and his son was dragged through the streets, and scourged and beaten to his place of murder. Some of those who had shared in and witnessed the scenes of that day-and thousands of their children-also shared in and witnessed the long horrors of that siege of Jerusalem which stands unparalleled in history for its unutterable fearfulness. ‘It seems,’ says Renan, ‘as though the whole race had appointed a rendezvous for extermination.’ They had shouted, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ and they had no king but Caesar; and leaving only for a time the fantastic shadow of a local and contemptible royalty, Caesar after Caesar outraged, and tyrannized, and pillaged, and oppressed them, till at last they rose in wild revolt against the Caesar whom they had claimed, and a Caesar slaked in the blood of its best defenders the red ashes of their burnt and desecrated Temple. They had forced the Romans to crucify their Christ, and though they regarded this punishment with especial horror, they and their children were themselves crucified in myriads by the Romans outside their own walls, till room was wanting and wood failed, and the soldiers had to ransack a fertile inventiveness of cruelty for fresh methods of inflicting this insulting form of death. They had given thirty pieces of silver for their Saviour’s blood, and they were themselves sold in thousands for yet smaller sums.” (Farrar, Frederic, Life of Christ, chap. LX)