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Summary: 2nd in 5 part Series using the popular TV show, CSI, to investigate the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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THE CONSPIRACY: THE LEADER’S ENVY

CSI: Murder of God - Week 2

MATT.27:18; JOHN 11:45-48

INTRODUCTION:

One of the truths about most crimes and certainly it is seen on the television show CSI, is the fact that usually more than one person contributes to a criminal offense. A lot of times you find a number of people who, while they didn’t shoot the gun or use the knife, are still involved in one way or the other. That’s true of this crime too. This murder was not done by one person in a dark alley. This was a state execution, but no one would call it justice. No, this was homicide, pure and simple. The State’s punishment was just the tool that provided the cause of death for Jesus, of Nazareth. So, today we want to focus our investigation on those that launched the conspiracy, who were the agitators in the plot to kill Jesus. Last week we talked about the motive for the crime, that the reason Jesus was rejected and eventually killed was because people spurned His authority. This was especially clear in the lives of the men who were looked up to as spiritual leaders. These religious authorities saw Jesus as a competitor instead of a compassionate Savior. And I don’t care how spiritual you are or how high your position, anytime we think we are losing our place or our spot, we too can become out of sorts, insecure, even mean. All because of envy.

{Video Clip: Toy Story - Chp. 6: 15:08 - Chp. 7 19:41 = 4:33}

Yes, Woody had “laser envy” - why? Because he thought Buzz was taking his place as Andy’s favorite toy. Well, the religious leaders of the1st century saw Jesus as “Buzz,” they saw him taking their spot, their place, their position of prominence as the spiritual leaders of Israel. Matt. 27:18 sums up their problem in one terse verse: "Pilate knew very well they had arrested Jesus out of envy because of his popularity with the people." Here was a group of respected leaders who allowed envy to twist their thinking, sear their consciences and eventually led them to cry out for the execution of the Son of God. So, this morning as we consider what envy did to them let’s confront the same tendency we have in our own lives.

I. THE MEN WHO ENVIED JESUS:

Let’s begin by looking at the men who were Jesus’ primary enemies. First, there were the Pharisees, mentioned in vs:46. They could be described as the ultra- conservative party of that day. They were the proponents of the "letter of the law." A man became a pharisee by making a public vow that he would spend all of his life observing every jot and title of the scribal law. That meant that he would not only live by the 10 commandments and the 600+ Mosaic laws, but also he would keep all the traditions and all of the customs that had been handed down over the years by previous respected religious leaders.

The Pharisees held Jesus in contempt because they thought He was too liberal. He violated their traditions. Let me give you a couple of examples. Throughout the first four books of the New Testament that describe Jesus’ life, the Pharisees constantly complained about the way Jesus observed their holy days. In particular they were upset by the way Jesus observed their most holy day, the Sabbath. For the Jew then, as it is today, Saturday is their Sunday, their day to worship and rest. But these leaders made many traditions that they said had to be kept on that day. But Jesus didn’t see their traditions as binding. For example, in Mark 2 the Pharisees accuse Jesus’ disciples of working on the Sabbath, a “no-no” for the Pharisees, because they walked through a grain field and picked some grain to chew on. In the Pharisees mind they were harvesting. But Jesus said, “The day of worship was made for people, not people for the day of worship. 28 For this reason I have have authority over the day of worship.”(Mk. 2:27-28) In Mark 3 they confronted Jesus about His healing on the Sabbath and basically asked, “How come You perform miracles of healing on the Sabbath when a physician is not supposed to work on that day?” But Jesus tells them that healing a person, helping them is more important than their traditions. In Mark 7 it tells us that the Pharisees always ceremonially washed their hands before they ate as was the tradition handed down by the elders. This wasn’t a washing due to dirt but due to ceremony, not wanting anything to be ceremonially unclean. So they said to Jesus: "Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old customs? For they eat without first performing the washing ceremony?"(Mk.7:5 LB) Jesus saw right through their critical spirits, and said- "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"(Mk 7:9 NIV) You can imagine how that set with the Pharisees.


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