(This post is part of our blog series on Holy Week in preparation for Easter 2015. Click here to find additional posts from this series.)
Friday. The Friday that Jesus was crucified is the most important day in all of history. Friday began in the Garden of Gethsemane at the arrest of Jesus (probably shortly after midnight), and ended with Jesus lying dead in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. After a sham trial, relentless mockery, vicious beatings and scourging, and being nailed to a cross, the Son of God breathed his last. All glory and honor and praise to the King! Worthy is the Lamb for He was slain!
It can be easy this time of year to downplay the horror of the cross, and to simply focus on the power and wonder of the resurrection. But, without the death of Jesus to atone for sin, the rest of His life, teaching, AND resurrection would be pointless. The atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross is precisely what gives sinners new life, righteous justification before a Holy God, and propitiation for sin. The wonder of reconciliation and the victory over evil were both won on the cross.
As Jesus was hanging on the cross in deep suffering, those who passed by derided Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:39-40 ESV). It seems as though Jesus’ punishment is vindication and verification of the Jewish leaders, as if God is punishing Jesus for blaspheming. But on the cross, Jesus was accomplishing reconciliation and redemption for those who would believe in Him. Notice the incredible irony. "There is deep irony in the fact that if Jesus had come down from the cross He would’ve saved Himself but not others.”* I hope you see today how crucial the death of Jesus is!
There is no work of God that is more miraculous than reconciling sinful people to His holiness. Not walking on water, nor calming storms, nor feeding multitudes, nor raising the dead can compare to the miracle of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Even His own resurrection seems like child’s play for the Lord of Life, but to bridge an unfathomable gap of separation between God and man is truly and eternally spectacular. To perfect the imperfect is sheer wonder.
The Implications of the Cross
As a church, we have been going verse by verse though the Gospel of Mark and we just finished our study through chapter 15 and the narrative account of the death of Jesus on the cross. The gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) provide for us the events of the gospel. The rest of the New Testament unpacks the implications of those events. To understand the cross isn’t simply to understand the events of Jesus’ death, but to understand the life-changing, broad-sweeping implications of Jesus’ death for our very lives.
A few years ago, when we were teaching through the gospel account of John, we extended our preaching beyond the narrative and spent several weeks unpacking the implications of the cross. If you are wanting to go deeper in this, the sermons are available online by clicking here.
- Parts 1-3 - The narrative account of the cross in John’s gospel (covering John 18:1-19:30).
- Part 4 - An exploration into how the cross demonstrates both the justice and mercy of God.
- Part 5 - A deeper look at what Jesus accomplished for us through HIs death.
- Part 6 - How to live each day in the good of the cross, by getting the truths of the cross from our head to our hearts.
- Part 7 - What does it mean to “boast in the cross” as Paul says in Galatians 6?
- Part 8 - How living in the good of the cross compels us to share the gospel with others (spreading the message of the cross).
Worship Jesus today for all of the implications of the cross on your life! Never forget the great price that was paid for your ransom!
*From Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor’s book, “The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived” - page 152