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Considering the Cross

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Considering the Cross

Isaiah 53

The Cross of Jesus Christ is meant to be a solemn reminder of what our Lord did for us about 2,000 years ago.  Even the observance of the Lord’s Supper is supposed to be a remembrance of the death of Christ.  Have you noticed something about the Cross?  That in the fast-paced, flippant, and often irreverent society—the Cross has lost much of its meaning and power.  Wouldn’t you agree that the Cross has become more of a marketing tool, than a memorial that is supposed to grasp the attention of the saved world?  I would venture to say that what the religious world has done to the Cross, has done much to damage the message of the Gospel.  Well, so and so wears a Cross and…  The image of the Cross, and the story of the crucifixion should never grow old in our lives.  If it has, then we need this message today.  This morning I would like to fix your attention upon the Cross of Jesus Christ.  For the saved, it is our time to remember what Jesus has done, and for the lost, it is your time to realize what Jesus has done. 

1.  The purpose of the Cross.  The Cross was necessary for the judgment of sin.  He was wounded for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities.  He was crucified for our open rebellion to the Law of God, He was wounded for the inward corruption of our hearts, and He was put to death for our outward acts of wrongdoing.  All we like sheep have gone astray.  I don’t think it takes much to sidetrack a sheep, they do not seem to be an intense, or focused animal.  All of us fall into this category.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

It does not take a whole lot of urging for a man to turn to a life of crime, or deceit, or destruction.  Sin is not second nature, its first nature.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We can say that the world was giving God its worst, and He was giving the world His best.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2.  The pain of the Cross.  The Roman crucifixion was designed to be the most painful, shameful death a person would ever see or experience.  I want to just read an account of Christ and the Cross, and first describe the physical pain of Jesus.  Mark 15:12-23.  The scourging by Pilate was done with what can best be described as a cat of nine tails.  It was a whip made of braided strips of leather.  It was a custom to weave pieces of pottery, bone and metal into the braids.  So with the very first lashing, there was not only the sting, but also the breaking open of the skin.  But a scourging wasn’t just one strike, it was 40, imagine the sight of our Lord’s back and the pain He was enduring for you and for me.  He had a crown of thorns placed upon His head.  He was beaten, spit upon, His beard was plucked out.  He did not even look like a man any longer.

Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Then they nailed His hands and His feet to a rugged cross, and placed it in the ground.  While He was on the Cross, He was offered wine mingled with myrrh.  This was designed to deaden the pain, but He refused it.  Why would Jesus refuse to have His pain lessened?  I think there are two reasons.  Number one- so that it would not be easier for the world to look upon Him.  Number two- So the world would see that Christ’s desire to take away the sins of the world was more than genuine. 

What about the spiritual or emotional pain He endured.  He had already suffered a life of rejection—who hath believed our report?  He came unto His own.

Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

The feeling of abandonment.

Matthew 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.  This was the same group that was told…

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  But try to get your mind around this thought, God the Father turned His back on God the Son.  My God….  For a moment in time, for the first and last time of all eternity, a member of the Godhead was alone.  And darkness covered the earth.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  It gives you a little more insight to Paul’s desire in Philippians.

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

3.  The plan of the Cross. (10-12).  The plan of the Cross was to satisfy the wrath of God, and that was done on Calvary.  We see it in words like pleased, pleasure, and satisfied.  Look at the results back in Mark 15.  The veil was rent.  The access to the holy of holies was now available to all.  The centurion’s words… at least some in the world would come to realize that Jesus’ death was not in vain.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That is why the message has never needed revising.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Have you considered the cross?  If you are not saved this morning, the cross is there to make you realize what God has done for you.

Christian, have you considered the cross?  Take time remember what Christ has done for you.  When you are about to quit church, and to put the things of God aside—consider the cross.  When you are complaining about another believer—consider the cross.  When you are losing your temper and taking out your wrath on another—consider the cross.  When you are absorbed in your own self pity—consider the cross.

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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