Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

If the NY Times Wrote Jesus' Obituary

Sam Roberts, an obituary writer for The New York Times, imagined how the obituary of Jesus would have read if he was writing the obit 2,000 years ago. Here are a few snippets:

Jesus of Nazareth, a Galilean carpenter turned itinerant minister whose appeals to piety and whose repute as a healer had galvanized a growing contingent of believers, died on Friday after being crucified that morning just outside Jerusalem, only days after his followers had welcomed him triumphantly to the city as "the anointed one" and "the Son of David." He was about 33.

For a man who had lived the first three decades of his life in virtual obscurity, he attracted a remarkable following in only a few years. His reputation reflected a persuasive coupling of message, personal magnetism, and avowed miracles. But it also resonated in the current moment of spiritual and economic discontent and popular resentment of authority and privilege, whether wielded by foreigners from Rome or by the Jewish priests in Jerusalem and their confederates.… After he was declared dead on Friday night, he was buried nearby in a cave. On Sunday, his disciples reported that the body was missing.

Possible Preaching Angle:

It's a creative attempt at summarizing Jesus' life, but it's also telling for what Roberts omitted—like Jesus' claim to be God in human flesh, or the resurrection, or the call to worship and follow him.


Sam Roberts, “Jesus of Nazareth, Whose Messianic Message Captivated Thousands, Dies at About 33,” Vanity Fair (3-25-16)

Related Sermon Illustrations

Cross Reveals the World We Have and the God We Have

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took ...

[Read More]

Mother Encourages Dying Son

Christian author Catherine Marshall reflects on what it's like to die in the fictional story of a 12-year-old boy named Kenneth. In the story Kenneth is suffering from an incurable ...

[Read More]