The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation on which Christianity is built.
Easter Sunday is the culmination of a week of events that start with the previous Sunday (Palm Sunday) which celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the last time and is recognized as the Messiah.
The week concludes with Good Friday which memorializes the death of Jesus and finally Easter Sunday (or resurrection Sunday) which remembers the resurrection of Jesus three days later from the grave.
Without the resurrection of Jesus, He would have been just another martyr for a set of beliefs, but because of His resurrection, Jesus proved once and for all that He was God in the flesh and had ultimate authority over death and the grave?
The entire process of what Jesus did is important.
It is important because He willingly allowed Himself to die for the sins of all mankind for all time.
In order for there to be a resurrection, there has to be a death, and this morning, we are going to look at some things about the death of Jesus that are important.
The cross is based on the Trinity
Christianity is unique from all other world religions in that God has three distinct personalities.
We call this the trinitarian nature of God.
Each personality serves a different purpose, yet they are all the same God.
This is a difficult aspect for people to grasp hold of, but wonderful in its effect.
In the act of the cross, each member of the Trinity fulfills their function:
Redemption is ordained by God the Father ahead of time
God has chose all of humanity to be saved from an eternal punishment.
What I mean by that is God has made salvation available to everyone regardless of their background, social status, or gender.
Salvation is made available to every person.
Redemption is accomplished by God the Son (Jesus Christ)
Scripture is clear that without the remission of blood, there is no remission of sins.
God had established His original covenant with His people (the nation of Israel) in the form of a set of laws.
The law served as a reminder that man could do nothing of his own power to be saved and how much he needed a redeemer.
Jesus was that redeemer.
he fulfilled every aspect of the law to perfection and could then become the sacrifice that we needed to settle the debt with God.
Redemption is applied by God the Holy Spirit
Salvation may be a one time event, but life doesn’t stop just by accepting Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior.
It is upon our acceptance of Jesus in that capacity that we receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit that sets us apart from the rest of the world to become true worshippers of God, and that is what allows us to become obedient to God and His direction and plan for our lives individually.
There is a crimson thread that runs through all of scripture
The theme of all of scripture is Jesus.
Every book, every chapter, every verse points to the life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus all for the atonement of mankind’s sin.
Without the cross, the entirety of scripture would be pointless.
Ever since the downfall of man in Genesis chapter 3, a downward spiral ensued.
Many times, scripture is quick to point out that people “did was was evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Man, under his own power will never be able to atone for his sins against God, but God had a plan, and that plan was His Son Jesus Christ.
The crucifixion is the key on which Christianity rises and falls.
It is only by the crucifixion of Christ that we can be declared righteous by God.
The cross asserts the true power in the Kingdom of God
By giving into temptation by Satan in the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 3, man took matters into his own hands.
By eating of the fruit that God had strictly forbidden, man decided he wanted to be just like God, and that was strictly against what God had commanded.
That shifted the power and authority on Earth from God to man.
One other case of man trying to usurp God’s authority over the Earth was the tower of Babel which would become Babylon and has been know to be opposed to the reign of God over the Earth.
When Jesus came, He came as the true Son of God which shifted the power back to God and reestablished His authority in the here and now.
It was through His weakness as a human that he established His authority and displayed strength through weakness.
He never exploited His power and authority, but instead himself.
He also became a servant of all which exalted Him as ruler of all.
The world may operate by its own rules now, but there will come a time when Jesus will return in all of His glory; not as a servant, but as a King and Judge to rule all the nations once and for all and to pass final judgment over all of those that have rejected His name.
The cross ushers in a new covenant
Jesus’ last night alive He spent it with His twelve closest disciples (including the one that would eventually turn Him over to the religious authorities).
During the course of celebrating His last passover meal, He instituted what we as believers in Christ call the Lord’s Supper and some also call it communion.
This was instituted as a remembrance of Jesus’ crucifixion, but it was also symbolic of the new covenant that Jesus was ushering in for all of mankind.
Jesus told the disciples as he passed the cup:
God is a God of covenants.
He made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis that all nations would be blessed through his offspring.
God instituted the law as a system of sacrifices to remind people of their insufficiency to obtain salvation through works.
Jesus ushered in the covenant of grace made available for all of mankind.
There was no need for self-reliance to adhere to a set of rules and regulations that no one would be able to keep no matter how hard one tried.
The cross has defeated sin and death
Jesus uttered one final word while he was on the cross.
That word (tetelestai) is often translated “it is finished,” but it goes deeper than that.
The words gives the impression of a debt paid in full.
It was a word that was often used on bills once they were paid.
Because of our sinful nature, mankind owes a debt that no one will be able to pay under their own power.
Jesus, being that perfection, did what we could not do ourselves, and He paid that debt for us.
Jesus bore our sins for us in His body.
He took on every ounce of filth that we contain and took that burden away from us.
Mankind lives under a curse.
The curse of imperfection and sin, and Jesus became that curse for us.
By bearing that curse on our behalf, we are freed from the fear of death and the power that death holds over us:
The cross eradicates the power of Satan
Not only did the cross defeat sin and death, but the power of the cross eradicated the power that Satan has over us.
Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, every person has direct access to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Satan has been disarmed fully through the cross.
There is no power on earth that will conquer the work of the cross.
We are set free from all bonds of sin.
Sin has no power over a person once they place their faith in Jesus Christ.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved once and for all that Satan has no power over a believer or in their life.
Jesus was then able to sit at the right hand of the Father proving once and for all that there is nothing more that needs to be done on our behalf.
The cross is substitutionary and sufficient
The cross is for us.
The cross stands in our place and on our behalf.
Jesus laid down His life for His creation.
He is, according to .
“the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
He became the curse for us.
That means that Jesus takes the place of everyone.
The slave, the idolaters, the rebels, murders, thieves, adulterers, addicts, everyone.
Conquering the spiritual forces of this world was the goal of Jesus, and because of that goal, substitution is necessary:
Not only did Jesus stand in our place, He was completely sufficient to be able to stand in our place in front of God.
In order for us to be seen as righteous in God’s eyes, we had to have someone that could take on that burden of becoming the sin we could not bear and paying the price we could not pay, and Jesus in His perfect human life did just that.
The cross is absurd to the unknowing world
One TV show narrator said, “Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central focus the suffering and degradation of its God.” Paul asserts this fact.
The gospel is not an inherently attractive message for people until they are granted spiritual eyes by the Holy Spirit.
When the world sees the cross, they see weakness instead of power and majesty.
They see hate and disgust instead of love and forgiveness.
The folly of the cross is not just the physical death of the Messiah, but the manner in which He was put to death which was considered so repulsive that Roman citizens were never subject to a crucifixion.
The cross carries peace, reconciliation, and unity