Summary: The "Motive" of Christ’s death on the cross is fairly clear in Scripture... but there are people who are offended by that message.
OPEN: (We started the sermon playing the theme music for "CSI Miami". Then commented:)
Some of you may be asking “What in the world was that?”
That was the theme music from the hit TV show “CSI Miami”. There’s CSI, CSI Miami, and CSI New York… and for the next few weeks we’re going to be presenting a series of sermons we call “CSI Jerusalem”.
Does anybody know what CSI stands for? That’s right – “Crime Scene Investigation.”
For the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at the cross from perspective of a “Crime Scene”. We’re going to be Crime Scene investigators, and as with all good Crime Scene Investigators, we’re going to be looking at the following elements of Calvary:
1. The Motive
2. The Crime Scene
3. The Suspects
4. The Evidence
5. The Witnesses
Today, we’ll be looking at the MOTIVE for Jesus dying on the cross. Although, actually, the motive isn’t that hard to find in Scripture. The Bible is exceptionally clear as to why Jesus died:
John 3:16 tells us: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
That passage tells us that the motive for the death of Jesus Christ was this:
1. Jesus died because God loved us
2. And if Jesus had NOT died, we would all perish because of our sins
3. But because He did die, if we believe in Jesus - if we accept Him on His terms and give our lives to Him - then we will not have to face the judgment we deserve for our sins.
That’s what John 3:16 says about the motive for Christ’s death on the cross.
CSI Miami’s theme song has these words in it: “I get on my knees and pray, we won’t be fooled again.” And as I looked at the “Motive” for Christ’s death, I realized there were people who would try to fool us - to deceive us about the reason for Jesus’ dying on the cross.
I. There are theologians out there who will try to convince you
… that Jesus’ death was a mistake
… that He had not intended to die…
… but instead, His goal was to set up His own earthly kingdom
However (according to these supposed experts) Jesus was swept up in political intrigues that He could neither foresee nor control.
You can hear from these authorities several times a year on TV on channels like PBS, The History Channel, the Discovery Channel and several other places on the TV dial.
And these experts write innumerable books and hold highly publicized conferences to discuss why the Jesus of the Bible WASN’T who He said He was.
ILLUS: Back in 1993, several denominations held a conference they called “Re-imaging 1993”
In that conference an Episcopal theologian (Virginia Ramey Mollenkott) declared: “As an incest survivor, I can no longer worship in a theological context that depicts God as an abusive parent and Jesus as the obedient and trusting child”
At this same conference - a doctoral candidate at Union Theological Seminary (Beryl Ingram-Ward) questioned the idea of a “Father God” who would willfully kill his own child: “How can we continue to believe a loving parent would do this when human parents who do this are sent to prison.”