Summary: The news of Jesus death was wrong or at least incomplete. The news of our death can be wrong too.
It is Wrong
Well here we are. Easter, the day we celebrate the main proof point of the Christian faith. The day when we dress up a little more, attendance is a little higher, when we often make a special effort to make it to a worship service.
I had a little bit of dilemma. Most of you know the story by heart. Over the years you have heard preachers tell the story from dozens of angles, views and important points. So, how do I make this story come alive and more meaningful for you.
I realized that it is not my job to make the story interesting or new or fresh….My only responsibility is to allow the story to tell itself.
Have ya’ll seen some of the specials on the Discovery Channel where the commercials telling you about the show claim to be revealing new discoveries and secrets or books excluded from the Bible?
They pitch the program and if you watch it some of it seems to be just a little off. This morning I want to start with something similar; I want to reveal to you that I have found a copy of the “Nazareth Tattler.”
SLIDE - Hebrew
It is a very old document where there is a listing of the obituary of Jesus of Nazareth.
It is an amazing find. Most people don’t even believe that many people could read in those days and since there was not printing press all the copies would have to be made by hand. One interesting detail about what I am about to show you… It is a parchment that might be over 2 thousand years old. It is written in Hebrew when most people of the day would have used Greek… so it is thought that this News paper was targeted specifically to the Jewish population. Most non-Jews would not even be able to read it.
SLIDE - English
SLIDE – Jesus Obit
• Jesus of Nazareth was born in the year 6 BC to Mary and Joseph, the carpenter from Galilee. He was preceded in death by a father, Joseph. He is survived by his mother, Mary of Capernaum, also by his brothers, James, Joseph, Judas and Simon, also of Capernaum and several other sisters. During his lifetime, it was rumored that he received some notoriety and publicity because of unusual occurrences associated with his life such as the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, and the lame walking. It was also rumored that he radically changed people’s lives with new religious views about Jehovah. More recently, it is reported that, last Sunday in Jerusalem, large Passover crowds hailed him as king. Shortly thereafter, the crowds turned against him. This past Friday afternoon, he was sentenced to death by the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, representing the Roman Empire in Jerusalem. He died at three o’clock in the afternoon on Golgotha hill, from wounds inflected as a result of crucifixion. His burial was in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. His family requests that no flowers be sent, but rather than memorials be send to the crippled children’s fund in care of the synagogue in Bethlehem, the place of his birth.
Ok, it is a hypothetical obituary. It is in no way real.
But if there had been some kind of news report that went out it would have marked the end of the movement.
Everyone would have thought that the “Jesus movement” was over.
- Its leader, like others before him, was now dead.
- His disciples would surly scatter and disappear.
- The stories of the miracles would fade away and probably never even be mentionable in recorded history.
Jesus life and ministry would be like a pebble tossed into the ocean of time where the monetary splash would be swallowed by the waves and the size of time.
With most anyone else that would seem to be the case.
However, that obituary was not the end of the story. There was something else which had not made the paper yet….
The obituary was wrong or in the very least incomplete. It has happened many times even in the last couple of hundred years…People have gotten the story wrong….
In 1888, a French news paper published an obituary of Alfred Nobel, The inventor of Dynamite. They headline read, “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” The headline shocked and saddened Alfred and it may have been the reason for his establishment of the Peace prize that is named after him.
In June of 1897– in response to a rumor a reporter was sent to determine if Mark Twain had died, His response to the inquirers, "The report of my death is an exaggeration"
He again learned about his “possible” death in May of 1907 when he was thought to be lost at sea, he responded on that occasion with, "I will make an exhaustive investigation of this report that I have been lost at sea. If there is any foundation for the report, I will at once apprise the anxious public. I sincerely hope that there is no foundation for the report, and I also hope that judgment will be suspended until I ascertain the true state of affairs."