No Christ, or Easter without the Cross
TEXT: Matthew 16:13-17; 21-23 TOPIC: No Christ or Easter without the Cross Pastor Bobby Earls, Northgate Baptist Church, Florence, SC A Maundy Thursday Devotional, April 9, 2020 As we gather together on this holy night we remember that it was on a Thursday, a Thursday evening in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ in which he took bread and broke it and blessed it and gave to His disciples. It’s likely that the disciples did not fully grasp the importance of that moment or its theological truth Jesus was teaching His followers. For in the preparation of that first Lord’s Supper there in the upper room, Jesus was establishing one of two holy ordinances of the church. The Lord’s Supper following the Passover meal would point to His death on the cross, the hope of the resurrection and even, our Lord’s sure and certain return. Tonight on this Maundy Thursday we must remember, there is no "Christ" without the cross. And without the cross, there is no Easter. Hear the words of our Lord Himself as we read responsively Matthew 16:13-17. 13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 16:21–23 (NKJV) 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Peter wanted a cross-less Christ. A great teacher. A charismatic leader. But a dead one? A suffering one? That can't be right. But according to Jesus, the very idea that He might be Christ and yet not face the cross is blasphemous. An idea with demonic origins. If you take the cross away from Jesus, you strip Him of His mission. You devalue His life. You nullify His authority. And you stand against His crowning triumph and glory. Jesus withstood the taunts of the soldiers. He was silent before the mocking crowd and government officials. But He will not remain silent when someone tries to separate Him from the very reason He came to earth in the first place. There is no such thing as a cross-less Christ. And without the cross of Christ, there is no empty tomb, and we have forever lost the hope of life everlasting. But Christ did die as He foretold. He was crucified on an old Roman cross. And while our hearts are saddened by that thought, still we rejoice to know that He will live again, and that He lives today. Would you join us as we sing one final time of that Old Rugged Cross? THE OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER Provide instructions on our Maundy Thursday observance around the tables.