CSI Jerusalem - Who Killed Jesus?
Sermon shared by Jeff Strite
Summary: Christ’s death on the cross was a crime of passion. The crime was ours... the passion was God’s.
Tags: Jesus Christ, Pharisees, Fingerprint, Gibson, Rembrandt, Fingerprinting, Joel, Caiaphas, Lazarus (add tag)
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Audience: Seeker adults
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
So from that day on they plotted to take his life.”
They were afraid that everyone would start believing in Him and then they would lose their influence and authority over the people.
And they also feared Him because they felt that Rome would see Jesus as a threat to Caesar, and then the Legions would destroy all of Israel…and then there would be no personal influence and authority.
So… it was the Jewish leaders that killed Jesus… right?
II. Well, yeah… they were part of it… but they were not the only ones. Others had left their fingerprints at the scene of the crime as well.
Acts chapter 3 tells us that a crowd of Jewish people had gathered at the Temple and they saw Peter and John heal a lame man. Then Peter addressed those Jews and said:
“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. YOU KILLED the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:13-15
Peter wasn’t talking to the priests and Pharisees here (although there may have been a few of them in the audience) He was talking to ordinary Jewish worshippers who had been part of crowd which had asked Pilate to have Jesus crucified.
They were as guilty as their leaders before God.
III. For some… those were the only fingerprints they could see on the cross.
One of the problems in Crime Scene Investigation can be the tendency to see only part of the evidence and ignore other information that can lead to the arrest of others who are responsible. And that is what has happened all too often in the history of the church down through the ages.
Everybody KNEW that the Jews had killed Jesus. And they figured… if the Jews killed Jesus… then the Jews didn’t deserve to live.
From the Middle Ages on, wicked men have subjected the Jewish people to constant harassment, forced removal from their homes and even from the nations they had lived in. Sometimes this hatred of the Jewish race even lead to individual deaths and even group massacres.
The Jewish people suffered terribly in the First Crusade (1096-99).
They were a major target of the Spanish Inquisition
And of course Hitler played on similar prejudices to persecute the Jews during WWII
So, when Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ premiered, a virtual firestorm took place:
Newsweek’s John Meacham wrote in his column, “Mel Gibson’s powerful but
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