Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: If I had been Jesus, I would have shown the men on the road to Emmaus my scars and proved I had risen from the dead... but Jesus didn’t do that. Why?

OPEN: For the past few weeks, I’ve been preaching on the topic of CSI-Jerusalem. We’re Crime Scene Investigators…or more specifically “Cross Scene Investigators”. The following story is true. And while it is somewhat morbid it serves to illustrate what I want to say this morning.

Several years ago there was an TV news account of the arrest and trial of a man who had been accused of murdering his family with a knife. Neighbors had heard screaming on the night of the murders, but they had not given it much thought until two weeks later, when it was reported that the bodies of the victims had been found in shallow graves in a field outside of town. Then the neighbors called the police.

When the police entered the home of the victims, bear in mind that 2 or 3 weeks had already gone by. They found it to be immaculate. The carpets had been shampooed. the curtains and drapes washed and ironed, the woodwork polished. Every window had been cleaned; every piece of furniture polished; even the bedrooms and hallways had been repainted.

The police found no fingerprints, no blood stains, no shredded clothing, and no signs of a struggle anywhere.

This alone would have made the husband a prime suspect. No man by himself would have had a such an immaculately taken care of home. The defendant’s story was that he and his wife HAD had an argument a month earlier, and she had taken the kids and left him. He said he had no idea of where they were until he’d been told their bodies had been found.

Understandably, the police doubted the man’s story. So they brought in a forensics team that sprayed the man’s bedroom, bathroom, hallway walls, and floors with a chemical known as Luminal.

Luminal is a compound that’s designed to interact with blood, and when it comes in contact with blood, it gives off a florescent color - even under paint. The police sprayed the Luminal, waited a few moments, and then - sure enough - the patterns of blood appeared throughout the house. Neither the soap, the polish, nor the fresh paint had prevented the police from seeing the blood, even though the blood had been covered and hidden from their view.

APPLY: When CSI Investigators examine a crime scene they often are looking for evidence that isn’t readily seen. Evidence they can use in a court of law. Evidence that will demand a verdict.

This morning we’re examining a crime scene: the cross of Christ. And while some of the evidence there IS obvious other things seem to be hidden from view.

We said last week that the Bible portrays the death of Jesus as a crime of passion:

it was our crime of sin…

and God’s passion for our souls

But as we listen to the conversation between Jesus and the men on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24)we find that these two men have heard the evidence of the cross. In fact, they tell Jesus all about it. And they’ve heard the evidence of risen Christ…

Luke 24:22-23 “…some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.”

They’ve heard all this… but they don’t believe it! It’s as if there is certain evidence that has remained hidden from their sight, and this missing evidence has totally destroyed the hope these men should have had when they heard Jesus had risen from the dead.

Because these men have not understood this missing information they have come to believe that Jesus’ death was an accident. A great tragedy.

LOOK WITH ME AGAIN at Luke 24:17-21

He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"

They stood still, their faces DOWNCAST.

One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"

"What things?" he asked.

"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but WE HAD HOPED that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.

Notice… in vs. 21 they say “WE HAD HOPED” that Jesus was the one who would redeem Israel.

… but He’d been executed

… He’d been murdered

… He was dead

And this belief so demoralized them that Luke tells us their faces were “downcast” (Luke 24:17)

(pause…) Jesus lets them tell their story… and then He rebukes them. “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Luke 24:25

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Eric Evans

commented on Apr 8, 2015

Excellent thoughts! I always enjoy reading brother Strite's words of wisdom. I am wondering if anyone knows "who" this "Steinberg" is in the closing illustration. I know this illustration appears in other places on Sermon Central, and even in book of illustrations by Charles Swindoll. Yet I can find no evidence of "who" is being referred to online. I found one art critic, Leo Steinberg, who passed away in 2011, that had some obsession with Renascence art of Christ on the cross, but after reading about him I seriously doubt he is the one in the illustration. If you know, please post. I like to be able to verify at least some fact of what is a true illustration before I use it myself. Thanks!

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