Summary: Who killed Jesus? This might seem a question with a simple answer. It is not. This sermon turns us into detectives investigating who the real killers of Jesus were.
Sermon 4: CSI Calvary: Who Killed Jesus?
Series: 82 Hours: Countdown to the Resurrection
Preaching April 14, 2019
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, an 11-second mpg of the Who’s CSI theme song is available if you want to use it for the intro as referenced below.
TEXT: Mark 15:22-39 – “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. 33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” [OPEN IN PRAYER.]
OPEN IMMEDIATELY with the theme song of the TV show, CSI. [Play only 0:06 through 0:17 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqz1zQsiScY. I have an 11 second mpg of just that part of the recording (the “Who are you. Who, who, who, who” two times) available upon request.]
Just so you know, that wasn’t a goof-up by the sound tech! That was the theme music from the hit TV show CSI. Many of you probably watched CSI until it was cancelled in 2015 after 15 seasons, or one of its two spin-offs: CSI Miami and CSI New York, also cancelled.
Does anybody know what “CSI” stands for? [GET AUDIENCE ANSWERS.] That’s right: It stands for “Crime Scene Investigation.” We’re in an Easter series titled “82 Hours: Walking with Jesus to the Resurrection.”
Today, one week before Easter, I’d like to examine Christ’s death as a crime scene. The theme music for CSI is from The Who’s 1978 number 2 hit “Who Are You?” which is appropriate since the job of crime scene investigators is to discover “Who Are You,”—that is, they’re asking the question of WHO committed the crime they’re investigating.
So, we’re going to be crime scene investigators as we seek to discover who killed Jesus. Hence, the title of my sermon: “CSI: Jerusalem”—in this case “CSI” standing for “Cross Scene Investigators.” (Ain’t I clever?)
Crime scene investigators have a variety of investigative tools at their disposal, perhaps the most prominent of which is fingerprinting. First used in 1910 to identify and convict murderer Thomas Jennings who had left his fingerprint on a railing with still drying paint, fingerprinting has become so prevalent in modern day crime fighting that it has even found its way into everyday speech. For instance, someone might say “you’ve got your fingerprints all over that project.”
In law enforcement, if someone’s fingerprints are found at the scene of the crime, police will detain them as persons of interest or suspects, a polite way of saying they think they did it! When it comes to the death of Christ on the cross, there are several “suspects.”
Let’s go to our crime lab (the Bible) and investigate them this morning.
I. OUR FIRST SUSPECTS ARE THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS.
Matthew 26:3-4 tells us, “Then the chief priests assembled together, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by stealth, and kill him.”