Summary: 1st in 5 part Series using the popular TV show, CSI, to investigate the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ.
THE MOTIVE: JESUS’ AUTHORITY
CSI: Murder of God - Week 1
MATT.28:18; JOHN 10:17-18
INTRODUCTION TO SERIES:
CSI is the #1 show in all of Television. The Thursday night show was so popular it created two successful spin-offs... CSI: Miami on Monday nights and CSI: New York on Wednesdays. The popularity of the show certainly is based on the cast and excellent writing but I think it’s fan base is also numerous because of the plot. It’s not just a shoot-em-up adventure. This show is more of a mystery, a real “who-done-it.”
William Peterson, who plays Gil Grissom said it this way. “I think the popularity has to do with the intriguing way we see things. A toe-nail is found in a shoe and all of sudden it’s an important clue. Instead of the big things, it’s the little things, and they become the most important things. It’s a whole new way of perceiving.”I think he’s got a valid point. As many of you know I was in law enforcement for 12 years, the last three years in investigation where I was both a Crime Scene Investigator and a Detective. (Not at the same time, unlike the show) But I like the shows too. Not because they are always realistic but because of the plot twists and the way in which, as William Peterson says, the little things become the most important things.
Well, we are going to take that idea and apply it to a death that occurred some 2000 years ago. We want to look at the execution of Jesus Christ. Some parts of this incident are big things, obvious things. For example, we know it was the Roman soldiers who actually drove the nails that hung Jesus to the cross. But is that all there is to the story? Just a criminal being executed by the State? No. There are a bunch of little things that become important things. So, we are, in TV lingo, going to combine “Cold Case” and “CSI” as we reopen a case that has some very interesting aspects to it. First thing you need to know as an investigator is that this death was suspicious. It was not a legal execution but actually a homicide, a murder. Execution by the state was just the means to kill this man. How do we know that? Well, historical documents tell us that Jesus committed no crime. In fact Pilate, the Governor that sentenced Jesus to death said, “I find no basis for a charge against Him.”(Jn. 18:38) And history tells us that all Jesus did was live a moral life above approach, heal the sick, give hope to the hopeless. So, why did Jesus die? How did such a crime unfold? Who bears the guilt? Well that’s what we want to study for the next 6 weeks.
My prayer is that these messages will meet a 3 fold purpose. (1) That you will learn or be reminded of the facts surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The more we understand what happened then, the more real the events will become in our lives. (2) That you will be able to answer the question of who was responsible for this death. You may be surprised just how close to home the answer to that question is. (3) But most importantly, I want us to recognize that the reason Jesus went to his death on the cross is a truth that is still incredibly relevant today.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON:
We begin by looking at the motive for this crime. Motive, that is what prompts someone to do something, is very important in finding a solution to a crime. Because when you understand the reason a crime was committed you then can look to see who had that reason. That’s why we must begin our investigation by focusing on what it was that elicited such animosity and hostility toward Jesus that eventually he would be killed. But before we get too deep into this let’s ask God’s blessing on this week and the weeks to come. (PRAY)
(Video clip: “The Gospel of John” Chp. 3 16:20-19:30 = 3:10)
When you read the story of Jesus’ life it seems that he did the kind of thing we just saw a lot. Oh, not that he was always physically turning over tables or disrupting a marketplace, but he did always seem to be upsetting the apple cart so to speak. Challenging people’s beliefs, saying outright that he was the Son of God, even demanding that the spiritual leaders of his day, the preachers, the teachers, change their behavior. How dare he? It might prompt us to ask the same question the Religious Leader did in that clip: “What right have you got to do this?” Or as the SEB puts it: “What authority do you have to do the things you do?”(Jn. 2:18) And did you notice that Jesus doesn’t even give them a straight answer. He answers them with a riddle! Basically saying that, in time, they would see his “right,” or his authority to say and do the things he did.