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The Foolishness of the Cross

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I. He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! - John 1:1-18

On the evening of Good Friday we remembered the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. We read of his being betrayed and arrested, of his trial, his punishment and mockery, and his crucifixion and death. We read of the care for and burial of his body. And we left it there...
If you were here, you have likely had moments this weekend where you have recalled the reading that we did on Friday night. You have recalled and pondered these last moments of Jesus life.
This morning we pick up the biblical account right where we left off on Friday evening...
John 20:1-18
John 20:1–10 NASB95
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
There were still things hidden from the disciples (v9).
Luke 24:11 said that the idea of the resurrection “appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.”
John 20:11-16
John 20:11–16 NASB95
11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).
It was that very moment that Christ revealed himself to Mary.
This wasn’t simply some case of mistaken identity. Mary knew Christ well. He wasn’t merely an acquaintance, but her Lord and teacher.
Jesus was hiding His identity from her until He was ready to be recognized. And at the very moment that he revealed himself to Mary,
We see something similar happen with His disciples throughout the Gospel accounts.
Matthew
The women at the tomb encountered Jesus upon the road soon after they had left the tomb and they recognized Him immediately and worshiped Him. (Matthew 28:8-9)
Luke
After meeting the disciples on the Road to Emmaus He sat to take a meal with them and He blessed the bread and began giving it to them, just as He had done many times before.
Luke 24:31 NASB95
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
Mark
Jesus appeared to a group of disciples and scripture says that “He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.” Mark 16:14
John
The last disciple to recognize Jesus was Thomas. He was struggling with believing what the others were telling him. In fact, he declared that He would not believe unless he had physical evidence.
John 20:26–29 NASB95
26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
John tells us the reason that he wrote this account of Jesus’ life...
That you may believe...
John 20:31 NASB95
31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
I believe that there is a principle to be gathered from these events of the first Resurrection Sunday.
PRINCIPLE God reveals Himself to those that He wants to draw into His kingdom.
And there is a corollary principle to go along with it...
PRINCIPLE We have the freedom of choice to allow God to draw us or to reject His Son and go our own way.
Those principles lead me to our key point for today. Of course the point of Easter is to celebrate the resurrection of Christ...
But I also did not want to neglect the other holiday that we celebrate today...
April Fool’s Day
Just like John had a point in writing his gospel “so that you may believe,” I too desired for this Resurrection Day message to have a point, that you may believe in the risen Christ and by the grace of God be saved and secured in the kingdom of God.

II. The Foolishness of the Cross

We all know that there are some that struggle with belief. Specifically they grapple with whether they can trust the accounts of the Bible.
Paul understood this when he wrote his letter to the Corinthians...
1 Corinthians 1:18-19
1 Corinthians 1:18–19 NASB95
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
In the original Greek that means the “wisdom of the wise” or the “intelligence of the intelligent” will be “rejected” (refused, put away, nullified, invalidated).
Paul is quoting Isaiah here, which reads in English:
Isaiah 29:13-16
Isaiah 29:13–16 NASB95
13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, 14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.” 15 Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” 16 You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
The difference here is that Isaiah is talking about the Israelites, and Paul is talking about the Corinthians, which is made up of Jewish and Greek believers.
1 Corinthians 1:23
1 Corinthians 1:23 NASB95
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
Some stumble at the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23a)
because they are caught up in miraculous signs and the cross appears weak (Jews)
Just like the criminal on the cross mocking Jesus by asking Him to perform a miracle to save Himself, the world refuses to believe that trusting in Jesus can make a difference.
Some laugh at the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23b)
because they are caught up in the wisdom of man but they cannot see wisdom in the cross.
It is the wisdom of man that says that man is good enough on his own without having to believe in Christ.
Some only trust in themselves
Maybe they feel betrayed by religion or have been so abused by others that they have felt that they could only trust themselves.
Some believe that they will be saved by good works
The works of man may lead to his ultimate fall before God.
We find ourselves putting a false hope in the accomplishments of our hands in order to feel better about ourselves.
But the Bible speaks to that as well...

That No Man May Boast Before God

1 Corinthians 1:27-29
1 Corinthians 1:27–29 NASB95
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.
We believers do not boast in ourselves, but in the Christ who has saved us. There is actually nothing that we could do in and of ourselves to earn this salvation. It is purely the work of the Holy Spirit to draw us and to save us. Our only role in this process is to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and to put our lives under submission to Jesus Christ and Father God.
I know that there are some here today who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Maybe you live a good life and you do good things for other. In fact, maybe in the eyes of the world, you’re “not so bad!” But let me be blunt and tell you that’s not good enough!
Being Good is NOT Good Enough!
The ONLY thing that makes you good enough for God, is the blood of Jesus Christ.
When we say that, we mean that you have to be in submission to Jesus as your Savior. It is only His work on the cross that has any hope of saving you before God.
In fact, at the end, when God is judging all of creation and He looks upon you, what will make you good enough to enter into His presence for all of eternity?
…Jesus!
We have to accept that Jesus Christ died for us in order to wipe our sins away and put ourselves under His authority so that we might spend eternity in Heaven with God.

Confession Follows Belief

Once we believe, there comes a need for confessing our Lord Jesus.
Romans 10:9–10 NASB95
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
This is your time of confession.
We’ll have communion in just a moment, I’d like for you to be able to participate.
Communion is for believers who stand in a right relationship with God and with their fellow believers.

Invitation

Communion

[quiet piano]
[invite the deacons forward]
the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
- 1 Corinthians 11:23b-24 (NASB95)
[bless the bread and distribute it]
This is the body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, take it and eat in remembrance of His body broken for for us.
[eat & pause]
In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
- 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 (NASB95)
[bless the bread and distribute it]
This is the blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Take it and drink in remembrance of His blood poured out for us.
[drink and pause]
For by eating this bread and drinking this cup, we join together in proclaiming the Lord’s life, death, and resurrection until His return to us.
If the Holy Spirit has pinpointed anything in your life that needs your attention, I encourage you to deal with that issue appropriately and to be in good standing before God and before others.
Benediction/Doxology
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost
Amen
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