Wanted: Dead AND Alive
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.
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.
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 aging 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 such drama nor so eternally important a case:
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!
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 stinking feet!
The Motive [establish]
We can establish that Jesus had motive to do what He did…it was love!
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Was it Premeditated?
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
This wasn’t a whim, Jesus had thought it out carefully and completely from the time His Father sent Him to save us. It was clear what He had to do from the time man fell in the garden of Eden. God was speaking to Satan when He said:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
And Jesus knew what He had to do.
And now in this Garden it all culminates...what has been on His mind for eternity past is now coming to pass!
And w/out reservation we can say the deed Christ was about to do was as premeditated as any has ever been! And in meditation He thought of you…and me!
He remained silent in His own defense. And some of us do the same when we should speak up!
They bribed false witnesses but Jesus called none of the multitudes He could have.
Peter denies the Lord…and we who could testify in His behalf often cower in the shadows!
A poignant moment: when the cock crew and from a distance He sees Jesus and their eyes meet! You’re to be a witness, called to the stand…don’t recuse yourself!
Jesus’ meekness is unimaginable…cannot be put into words!
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
It gives evidence that He is different…yet we are quick to defend ourselves in all matters. God would be a better defender for you!
The Hung Jury
In any other courtroom He would be set free, but the death penalty is called for!
The Objection from Pilate Mt. 27:24-25
A weak stand he took, looking out mostly for himself!
DNA Analysis reveals Jesus is God! His blood was from His Father!
[toxin of sin found in the body]
2 Cor. 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
1 Peter 2:24
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Yet just before the cross there’s no trace of sin…
1 Peter 2:22
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
... was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
So, the toxin of sin was found, but it was not His.
Human saliva found--not Jesus’ own—evil men, having fun w/ a near dead man, Jesus bore it all—all sins in His body.
So…lab results show toxin of sin / saliva / something else?
Some of the blood samples gathered at the foot of the cross aren’t quite right? Has someone planted this? There’s another liquid in our pathology…it is water!
Deep in the heart of this thirsty, dried up body is water, and it too is poured out in the final step of this crucifixion.
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit…
Water symbolizes the spirit …and the Word!
The blood is for salvation
The water is for sanctification
...Found in Mary and Joseph’s home, in the temple from a young age—leading in and out of the river Jordan / atop the Mount of Olives [preached], and in cemeteries where he healed, cast out demons—at Lazarus’ tomb there’s 1 set of footprints leading in, but 2 sets coming out!
Found in slums / alleys of poor / at Samaritan well / in homes of lepers and tax collectors…also found on the Sea of Galilee!
Prints from only a week before the cross were found along a narrow street along w/ what looks like the imprints of palm branches…these can be traced to a dining setup in a loft, to the garden of Gethsemane, to the High Priest’s residence, Pilate’s court, Herod’s Palace, and along an incline just outside the city to that jagged hill that looks like a skull!
Prints matching those of Jesus could not be found on any swords, or weapons of any kind, but have been found on some people’s ears, eyes, legs, and many shoulders, some of whom had leprosy at the time [who would touch them?], prints were found on the cheeks and hands of many children, as well as on some bread and fish found in baskets on a hillside…also on the sales tables in the temple…
…some really amazing facts are how His prints were found in some sand where that woman nearly got stoned…and on His disciple’s feet and better yet, Malchus’ ear! The clearest prints were found on that cross He was crucified on, almost as if He were clinging to it!
Ballistics and other items at the scene:
Woven Thorns found on scene. In Eden thorns became part of the curse. Jesus had never experienced the consequences of sin, until they were driven into His scalp!
3 of them needed to fasten the large list into the wood…
... having forgiven you all trespasses;  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
He could have stopped the soldier’s mallet in mid-swing, but He wanted that list fastened there!
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
All 4 gospels mention it, and it’s truth could not be crossed out…there in all languages of the peoples was the fact of Who this was!
Love in any language…read between the nails—here's your sign!
A bloody garment was laid aside unnoticed after being gambled for…one of the soldiers won but did not claim his prize? It was a robe of Christ’s righteousness, taken off of Him and replaced w/ the wardrobe of indignity…stripped naked in front of the crowd, even His own mother—He exchanged robes w/ us, and man has been given His robe in exchange for our old tattered garments of sin!
You’re invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, a formal occasion, but you’re not allowed in w/ out this jacket, this white robe given you in trade for your filthy rags!
A Gospel writer at the scene testifies of a thirsty man—He hasn’t had anything to drink since the night before, and has lost most of the liquid in his body…His wind blown lips are dried and cracked, His mouth of cotton, He couldn’t swallow and scarcely speak thru his hoarse throat.
The drink offered Him contained sedative properties which would have numbed the pain and relieved the thirst, but Jesus chose to feel the full force of His suffering!
# of religious leaders who believed He was the Messiah: 0
Type of people who did: stargazers / night-shift shepherds / a couple of newlyweds who claimed to have more experience giving birth than experience in bed.
# of disciples total: 70
# of disciples who defended him to the end: 0
# of lepers and sick Jesus healed: too many to count
# who defended Him: 0
# of times Jesus had prophesied that He would rise again: 5
# of apostles who heard Him: all
# of apostles who waited at the tomb to see: 0
The odds a street-corner bookie would’ve given the day after the crucifixion—that Jesus’ name would be known in the 21st century: They would have said, “I’ll give you better odds that he’ll rise from the dead than that!”
A borrowed tomb—He only needed it for the weekend!
We don’t like to think about them…no one brings it up at dinner parties—what do you want to be buried in? No stores specialize in burial garments--“clothes to die for!”
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day...the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Armed guards to prevent a dead man from leaving!--a seal [wax/string]
A good investigator will sense that there’s fear in the Jewish / Roman leader’s bones…they all were shaken by the earthquake / darkness / veil torn!
Get ready! The authorities were mostly afraid of the disciples moving Jesus, but instead…
Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.  And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.  And they remembered his words…
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.  And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,  Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.  And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.  So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
The soldiers believed in the resurrection / obviously the religious leaders did, since they tried to cover it up.
Some of them not only believed IN the resurrection, but ON it…
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Eye-Witnesses Over 500!
When He died, so did your sin. When he rose, so did your hope!
… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
That you might have life!
When Jesus claimed to be God, the Jews sought to kill him, and he responded:
John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Will you go to heaven someday? You might!
Dead AND alive. There were people on either side of this issue with regard to their desire for Jesus. The Bible says we needed both. He must needs suffer and die in our place, and then He must rise again, conquering death, alive forevermore.
When you are dead, will you suddenly be alive? You might be. You can be. Do you know that you will be?
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