The Power of the Cross
The cross is one of the most familiar symbols in all the world. It has been painted, cast into jewelry and tattooed on bodies, it fills our cemeteries and memorials. It is used in movies. It evokes emotion and yet not everyone truly understands the meaning and the power of what happened there. The image of the cross alone represents the cruelest form of execution ever invented by the Romans. And yet today is has become a symbol of hope and love and forgiveness. that is only because of the one who died on the cross. That is Jesus. After a mock trial where the Jews charged Jesus for Blasphemy for claiming to be God, they brought him to the Romans to have him crucified. Mark gives us a shorter account than the other gospels but paints a clear picture of what Jesus endured.
- They mocked him but he loved them anyway- Jesus had told his disciples’ love your enemies and pray for those that abuse you and say all kind of evil things against you. And then they watched as he actually lived this out. A battalion of soldiers gathered around and mocked Jesus. this was no small group. A battalion was 600 soldiers.
If you have ever been mocked, made fun of, bullied, had people say cruel things to you than you are not alone. Jesus went through this himself and he also warned that those who follow him will also experience this mockery as well.
(Recently a Pastor's wife had been asked to open up one of the state congress sessions in prayer. But because she used the name of Jesus and prayed in a way that many Church-going Christians are familiar with somebody actually yelled “I object” to the prayer and she was called a bigot by some of the lawmakers. Why? well because she prayed to Jesus and quoted scripture in her prayer that acknowledges the exclusivity of Jesus as God. She refused to make some bland appeal to a generic no-name all-inclusive non-offending God that has become very popular these days.)
It is very revealing when someone is mocked for their faith in Jesus Christ. Those who do the mocking don’t even truly understand what they are doing. They don’t understand the spiritual realm. They don’t know they are being manipulated; they are unaware that they are being controlled by an unseen force. And to bringing that to their attention would just encourage more mockery.
This is why Jesus said while hanging on the cross. “Father forgive them for they no not what they do”
How could Jesus have endured what the devil and this world threw at him?
- Jesus was not swayed by anything they said, his feelings were not hurt.
(how many of us could endure that kind of mockery. We can’t handle someone giving us the stink eye.)
- He knew who he was and why he was doing what he was doing. – he had a laser beam focus on his purpose in this world and he would not be deterred or distracted from his mission.
What did Jesus Accomplish on the cross? – It is because of the apostle Paul who was called by Jesus that we have a clear explanation of the power of what Jesus did.
The price of our sins was paid and forgiveness made of available to all who will believe.
Romans 3:25–26 (NLT)
25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Some people don’t think they deserve forgiveness for the things they have done. They think they have gone too far. Others have a higher opinion of themselves and though they won’t say they are perfect they think their own righteousness gets them into heaven. well according to the Bible both people are wrong. Only God can truly make us right with him and he has already done this through Jesus Christ but we must be willing to have faith in him and follow him.
The power of sin over our lives was broken
Romans 6:6–7 (NLT)
6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin.
We all have feelings, drives passions within us that if not kept under control can lead us into all kinds of trouble and make us go against God’s will for our lives. The opposite of self-control is Out of control. And who can doubt that the world seems out of control right now. Before we knew Christ we were out of control, enslaved to passions and desires to do things outside the will of God but through Jesus Christ we have now the power of self-control, to obey Gods word and to live his way. Our feelings, passions and desires our no longer Our God leading us around Jesus is now our God and Jesus is our new identity.
When we follow out of a desire to obey him, we may struggle with feelings to back into our old ways but those feelings no longer have any power we can simply choose to walk away. A power that we didn’t have before. The only power our flesh has is the power we give it by choosing the temptations. You have the power to walk away.
Eternal Life- and of course We have the hope of eternal life. To be with God for all eternity.
Keep your focus on the cross- if you want to be like Jesus then you need to know who you are and why you’re here. You need to know that you are in Christ. That is your new identity. And your mission is to glorify him to draw people to him. When we keep that main focus no matter what comes our way, whatever form or shape out trials may take we can rest in the confidence that we belong to Jesus Christ and we have a mission and a purpose.