A King is Crowed: Message of the Cross
Good Morning Church! How is everyone doing this morning?
Series: Unexpected Messages
Series: Unexpected Messages
In this Advent Series We are going to be looking at the unexpected Messages that come in the Birth and Life of Jesus Christ! Each of the messages we will encounter in this series changed the world forever! My hope for this series is that as we encounter these ancient messages that God would have a message for each of us that would change our world today.
The first week we talked about the Unexpected Messages to Zechariah and Mary.
Last week talked about the Birth Announcement of King Jesus.
This morning we are going to talk about the Unexpected Message of the Cross! After the message we will take communion together!
Would you pray with me?
Today we are going to be talking about the unexpected message of the cross.
As I have reflected on my own understanding of what cross means to me I realize that it has changed drastically over time.
Wether intentional or not growing up I learned that Jesus had to die on the cross because I did bad things. That the father had to punish Jesus because I was bad. Thinking about God this way as I child caused massive problems for me. The cross became a constant reminder of my guilt.
You may have had a similar experience as a child, but my hope is that none of our children grow up believing such an incomplete view of the cross.
Now I believe that Jesus voluntarily chose to die on the cross to break the power of sin and death, and now the cross doesn't invoke feelings of guilt, but gratitude that Christ would willingly choose to endure violence to bring peace.
I want each of us to take a moment and look at the cross behind me, what does that cross mean to you? What feelings rise up in you?
Maybe you still have similar feelings that I had growing up, if you do take a moment to invite the Spirit to illuminate the true message and meaning of the cross in this time.
Transition: Today we are going to time travel back to first century palastine and reflect on what was the message of the cross for the Romans and the Jews at that time. Lets turn in our bibles to John 19 and place ourselves in the text when the people call for the Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth
Read John 19:1-15.
Unpacking the Text in Context
Unpacking the Text in Context
This is a mock coronation ceremony: Jesus is crowned king of the Jews in this section
This is the first time that Jesus ever wore a crown and it was made of thorns.
This was the first time that Jesus probably wore a royal robe.
This is the first time that Jesus is declared publicly as King in front of Rome and the Religious leaders.
This was supposed to send the message that Rome was in charge, that this is how Rome would treat their so called “King”
This was intended to mock, humiliate, and tear Jesus down mentally and emotionally. You think your a King we say your just what Kind of King youre!
Rejection of the People and Allegiance to Ceasar
When Pilate presented Jesus and said, “Here is your king!” what did the people want? to Crucify! Why? Verse 7 says because he claimed to be The son of God.
Then they make this a political issue, saying that he claimed to be KIng and opposes Caesar. In this moment, Jesus bears the two titles that the emperor has already held.
In this moment, the people would rather have Jesus killed then accept him as either their King or the Son of God and they call for his Crucifixion saying that they have no king but Caesar.
Here is where we see the Kingdom of the World and God’s Kingdom Clash
Caesar’s Kingdom calls for violence through crucifixion, God’s Kingdom comes through non-violence on the cross.
Reflect this Week: What does it mean that Jesus is my King? What does that change in my life? Lets unpack the message of the Cross!
The Message of the Cross.
The Cross’ message to the Public
Cruxifixion was a henious and cruel punishment. Manipulation of the mind and the body.
It was litterally a public statement that a persons entire being belonged to Rome, they could twist your body to a tree and they would control how you died.
Cruxifixion wasnt a common form of Punishment
Crucifixion was the punishment reserved, not for thieves or swindlers, but for revolutionaries.
N. T. Wright
Think about what the Crucifixion meant for the disciples. Paraphrasing from NT Wright
Crucifixion meant that the kingdom hadn’t come, . Crucifixion of a would-be Messiah meant that he wasn’t the Messiah, When Jesus was crucified, every single disciple knew what it meant: we backed the wrong horse. The game is over.
N. T. Wright
These are the intended messages of the Cross
Rome Rules, we decide how you died and when you die
You are neither King nor God’s Son. You are less than human.
Hate, Violence, Shame, Guilt, Fear, at the end of the day violence and death win.
The unexpected Message of the Cross
Yet, because Jesus was King and the Son of God and Rose from the Dead, the cross communicates a completely different message, an unexpected Message.
The cross was not a loss, but a victory over the principalities and powers, that Rome could not silence Yaweh.
A victory over evil and violence, that no matter how much violence and evil Jesus endured on the cross that God’s love would overcome.
A end to the cycle of violence in the world, God died so no those that follow him might experience, eternal life.
A message of forgiveness, hope, healing, and change.
For Me: the message of the cross means life, Jesus voluntarily bore the cross so I may have a life free of the same Powers that tried to silence him. It means that there is freedom from the sins, that share the same message as Rome, that they control my mind and Body. For me it means, that violence doesn't always win. We dont have to kill each other to have peace. For me the Cross means a New King has been crowned, his rule is now present. His Kingdom has Come. That my friends changes everything else.
Reflection: What does the cross mean to you? What does it change in your life?
Transition: Let us know tranisition to not only reflect on the Death of Jesus, but to participate in it by taking communion together.
We will now participate in the most natural response to the message of the cross. Communion. Communion is a sacrament, a work of God’s people to remember the grace and forgiveness, God has showed us on the cross. Although, the elements are symbols of Christ’s body and blood, this act of communion that we participate in is a sacred moment for God to work powerfully in our lives.
Preparing our hearts/Silence
I would like to invite us to take a moment of silence and pray as we prepare our hearts for this Holy Sacrament. Use this time to bring yourself in the presence of the living God and simply be still. Let the Spirit prompt you to confess, praise, or simply thank God.
I invite you to sit and read this confession to yourself or simply reflect on these words as I read them out loud.
We come to you, Jesus, burdened with our own sin. Our own calls for revenge and violence, which may or may not have included the words, “Crucify, crucify!” Our own betrayals, with or without the thirty pieces of silver. Our own denials, whether or not we have heard the cock crowing. You know the sins we carry, secretly or openly, the way they crush us, the weight of them. We bring these to your cross…*
You carry our burdens, Lord. These, the simplest and gravest of sins, are magnified into organizations and systems, amplified in the actions of corporations and governments. Selfishness, revenge and violence unfold on the largest scale, bringing forth misery and destruction in our world every day. You carry all of our burdens.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6 NRSV)
We are about to be a part of something that happened 2000 years ago as Jesus sat down with his disciples. Jesus ate with the disciples during Passover, a remembrance of when God passed over the Israelites in Egypt and saved them from death. Jesus would later sacrifice his life for all so that they might have freedom from not only sin, but eternal death. In light of this, Jesus established a new covenant with his disciples, that the bread and wine would be symbols of His sacrifice and love for us. Just as the Jews celebrated Passover to remember God’s saving work in the past, We celebrate the Last Supper to remember Jesus’ salvific work on the cross. For Christians this is not a question of am I good enough? but recieving the goodness of God’s gift to us!
We are going to take communion in a unique way this morning. What I need everyone to do is gather around the pews in a circle. I have placed folding chairs around so those that need to sit are able. If you need a chair, ask someone to get you one I have placed some inside the nursery. Once we are in a circle we can continue with the service.
we praise you for your unswerving love for us though we are fragile though we are wounded though we are broken you have never stopped loving us and you have never forsaken us
greater love has no one than this that they lay down their life for their friends you take what is broken and transform it through your death and love what once was hurt what once was friction what left a mark no longer stings because grace makes beauty out of ugly things
in your last meal with your friends before your betrayal you took the bread and gave thanks you broke it and shared it saying 'take and eat. this is my body broken for you' christ's body is broken we are christ's body, we are broken may christ's broken body nourish you in all the right places you took the cup of wine, gave thanks and shared it saying 'drink this, my blood shed for you' christ's body is wounded we are christ's body, we are wounded may the blood that flowed from christ's wounds heal you in all the right places send your holy spirit on us heal our brokenness
this is the table of christ today it is literally made of our brokenness a sign that christ welcomes us all as we are there is no need to pretend and no need to hide
so gather at this table not because you are whole but because you recognize your need for healing not because you are good enough but because you recognize these gifts of god
This is how communion will proceed: We will serve one another. You will hold the cup of Juice in one hand and bowl in the other. Turning to the person next to you, offer them the bread, by saying, Christ’s body given for you. Repeat after me, Christ’s body given for you. Then when they take the piece of communion bread, offer the cup to them and say, Christ’s blood shed for you. Repeat after me, Christ’s blood shed for you. Then they will take the piece of communion bread and dip it in the juice, this is called intinction. Then when they are done you pass the cup and bowl to them and they serve the next person.
If anyone declines to take communion at this time, you can simply take the cup and plate and serve the next person. I will bring grapes and crackers to the kids.
As you are waiting, id invite you to do one of two things. First, you can reflect on this powerful moment of receiving communion in a way that is both personal and corporate, watch others as they give and receive communion. Usually you do not see people face to face during communion.
Second, reflect on the third verse of “Joy to the World” that will be up on the screen. (Read the Verse).
Reflect on How the message of the cross and the experience of communion sheds new light on this verse.
To close we will sing the first 3 verses of joy to the World.