Summary: The ones who wanted Him dead were afraid that He was alive, and the ones who wanted Him alive assumed He was dead! But no one was neutral about Jesus. ’Cross Examination’ style investigation of the facts of the case. Link to text, audio/video, PowerPoint.

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Wanted: Dead AND Alive

John 20:31

No one was neutral that day about Jesus. They either wanted Him to be dead or to be alive. Even after He arose, all that the leaders of the land had to do in order to squelch Christianity was to produce the dead body, and when they could not, they proved that they WANTED Him dead, and would not accept the truth that He was alive.

And you cannot remain neutral either. You either believe or you don’t. You are saved or you are not. You are His follower or you are not. You are a part of His church or you are not.

Matthew 12:30

He that is not with me is against me...

Six months before going to the cross, Jesus began to predict that it would happen to Him.

Matthew 16:21

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

A total of 5 times He told His disciples that He would be crucified, buried and rise again. [Mt. 16:21, 17:9, 22-23, 20:18-19, 26:32] He even told the disciples where to meet Him after His resurrection. Ironically, after He was dead and buried, the Pharisees remembered His words, but the disciples had forgotten. The Romans were posting guards and sealing the tomb, and Jesus’ followers were crying without hope!

The ones who wanted Him dead were afraid that He was alive, and the ones who wanted Him alive assumed He was dead!

The OT had predicted the resurrection even before Jesus did:

We know that many times His death was predicted in the OT, but what about His resurrection?

Ps. 16:10 For thou wilt not …suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (decay, decomposition)

Ps. 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed…4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh…

Why is God laughing? Because He knows it’s not the end of the story! God knew they were lighting the fuse of a powder keg that was about to explode w/ resurrection power!

Following the crucifixion, hell rejoiced for 3 days, and meanwhile, God the Father just laughed! (Pilate, Herod laughed and congratulated each other on a plan well executed…religious leaders laughed and said, that’s the end of that!) But they didn’t have the last laugh!

Nietzsche proclaimed God dead, and many others are trying to kill Him today. On the other hand, some say they believe He is alive but don’t live like it. Which is worse? None of us should be laughing now.

What a picture it must’ve been—the Rock of Ages sealed behind an aged rock. The Light of the world is now shut up in darkness. The One Who came to give life is now dead, but not for long! I don’t care for the crucifix because my Jesus is no longer on that cross...I serve a risen Savior! “Gospel” means “good news”...and it wouldn’t be good news if He had only died for us, and not risen again.

I’m happy to remind you today that although almost everyone thought it was all over, including His disciples, Jesus shouted triumphantly, “Over my dead body!” as He conquered death, hell, and the grave, and rose again just as He promised!

That’s the truth of Easter, but let’s digress a bit...

...our title today indicates that though many wanted Him alive, many more wanted Him dead. Let’s do a ‘cross examination’ and check out the evidence gathered at the scene in this case. Court TV / CSI have never seen so dramatic nor so eternally important a case:

The Conspiracy

Indeed there is a movement today to rid the world of Jesus. Many detest our Judeo Christian heritage —terrorists want to kill Jews and Christians in the name of their god…and so many Americans would love for all the Christians to just disappear—one day they’ll get their wish! Our president this week said we don’t consider ourselves a Christian nation!

The Accomplice

Satan has many willing to sell him their souls for some temporary reward, but like Judas, they will spend an eternity regretting it!

Early Deliberations [sequestered away in upper room]

Luke 22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

The disciples are a picture of us, and isn’t it just like us Christians to squabble over the trivial when there’s major things to do?! That discussion came to an abrupt halt as Jesus washed their feet!

The Motive [establish]

We can establish that Jesus had motive to do what He did…it was love!

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Clifford Hiller

commented on Apr 14, 2009

The title of this sermon reminded me of Steve McQueen with his TV show back in the 50''s. Always someone wanting him dead, or alive as well. Thank God Jesus was not forgotten and left in the grave. Everything we have rests in the empty tomb. With out resurrection Sunday, all the other holidays are worthless!

Frank Cantu

commented on Aug 3, 2009

Impressive Work. We discussed the movie "The Pasion of the Christ", and how it ends, but it wasn''t the end and the movie is incomplete withouth the resurrection, because there is the Victory. God bless you and keep up the good work.

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