Jun 24, 2018

Jesus the Lord of the Cross

Luke 23:26-56
Pastor Duane Smets
June 24th, 2018

I.   The Word of the Cross
II.  The People of the Cross

Today is a special day. It’s special because in January 2017 we, as a church, began a journey opening up The Gospel According To Luke in the Bible in an attempt to get to know and understand who Jesus really is and what He is really about. And from the start, from the opening pages of the book, the story of Luke as he unfolds it has been building and building and building until this point, the climax of what we are going to be reading today, the cross of Christ.

What today’s text covers is the pinnacle of Jesus’ life and ministry.

Before Jesus was even born an angel appeared to Mary his mother saying Jesus “…will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:31).” And the angel told Mary to name Him Jesus, a name which literally means, “God saves.”

When Jesus was born thousands of angels appeared in the sky singing a song and said, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).”

On the eighth day of Jesus life, His parents took Him to church and the pastor their took little baby Jesus up in his arms and said now I can die because “…my eyes have seen God’s salvation (Luke 2:30).”

When Jesus began His teaching and preaching ministry thirty years later, John the Baptist took one look at Him and said that those who look at Jesus “…see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6).” Then Jesus was baptized by John and voice spoke from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased (Luke 3:22).”

The story is set up in the beginning with a picture of Jesus being the one who would save, the Savior. And so, Jesus begins teaching, preaching and healing people and the question Luke seeds in the reader’s mind is, “What kind of savior is Jesus going to be? How is He going to save?”

And Jesus answers that question…repeatedly. Consistently, over and over again Jesus keeps bringing it back to Him being the savior and saying that the way He is going to save is by dying.

He tells his disciples shortly after selecting them,

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed.” - Luke 9:22

In the middle of His ministry, He says He’s going to die in Jerusalem saying,

“I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets.” - Luke 13:33-34

And then as the time draws closer Jesus says very clearly,

“Everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him.”        
- Luke 18:31-33

Finally, on the night before His death, Jesus takes some bread and wine and says,

“This is my body, which is given for you…this cup is that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” - Luke 22:19-20

Jesus’ mission, the entire purpose for His coming to earth saying and doing everything He did was to die. So it’s a special day for us to read about. This is the literary climax of the book of Luke and I would venture to say even a bigger deal than that.

Many have said and recognized that the cross of Jesus Christ is the climax and pinnacle of all of human history where heaven and earth collide. Stephen Neil, the late Scottish pastor and missionary to India said,

“The death of Christ is the central point of history, here all the roads of the past converge and all the roads to the future diverge.”

So today is a special and significant day for us as a church because we look at the cross, where Jesus Christ was crucified. It’s, in fact, the very thing we named our church after from 1 Corinthians 2:2 that we have “Resolved, to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Our church, The Resolved Church has RESOLVED to dedicate our church and our lives in our city for one single purpose and passion, the cross of Christ. So church, would you stand with me today as we read the story for which by which we exist.

Luke 23:26-56

26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.

The cross of Christ. Jesus the Lord of the Cross. A cross. A cross.

Nearly every business and company in our city and in the world has a logo of some kind. A symbol. Every country has a flag and a logo. America’s is the bald eagle. Canada’s is the maple leaf. And likewise, every major world religion has a symbol representing their faith and beliefs.

For eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, the symbol is of a lotus flower with a Buddha in the middle depicting the cycle of birth and death.

For Judaism, the Star of David, a hexagram with two equilateral triangles is meant to stand for the throne of David reigning forever.

For Islam, a crescent moon with a star is meant to portray the goal and mission of reigning supreme over the entire world.

Interestingly, however, Christianity chose to adopt none of these types of symbols. Not a symbol saying we’re just all part of the circle of life and death as one. Not a symbol depicting a king. Not a symbol portraying world power and dominance. No. Christianity adopted a cross. A cross. A cross.

A cross was and still is the most painful way for a person to die and was the chief form of execution used during Jesus day. A cross, the ultimate symbol of suffering and pain.

A cross. It’s an odd thing to adopt as the symbol of one’s faith. I still find it odd every time I see someone wearing a necklace of a cross. No offense if you’re wearing one, that’s completely fine.

However, it’s kind of like wearing a little electrical chair around your neck. Or a syringe, full of deadly poison. The cross is a symbol of death and capital execution. A cross.

And all of us stand at a crossroad today, which we always do before the cross. And the crossroad is this, “What does it mean to you?” Because you see there are objective facts about Jesus’ death on a cross in what actually occurred. However, thousands and thousands of people were crucified on crosses in the ancient world.

So the cross of Christ only has meaning and significance for us today if more happened there than just a man being bloodied up and put to death like so many others did.

The late John Stott is one of my personal heroes and wrote hands down my most favorite book on the cross titled, “The Cross of Christ.” In it he says,

“From Jesus’ youth, indeed from his birth, the cross cast its shadow ahead of him. His death was central to his mission…What dominated his mind was not the living but the giving of his life…He who understands the cross understands the Bible and understands Jesus Christ.”

So this is my goal for us today, that we would come to know and understand the Christ of the cross…that we would walk away today resolving to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified because there is nothing better to know. May God help us.

With that, let’s walk through the story. I’ve only got two simple points for today, “The Word of the Cross” and “The People of the Cross.”

I. The Word of the Cross

I took the first point for today, “The Word of the Cross “ from 1 Corinthians 1:18 says this,

“The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

What does the cross say to us? In the scenes surrounding the cross, there are three words if you will. There’s the titles of Jesus, the actions of Jesus accompanied by powerful words from Jesus.

Jesus is called four different things in the story according to Luke, five if you add in Matthew’s description. Here they are:

Jesus, meaning God saves. The criminal crucified next to Jesus turns to Him and says, “Jesus, remember me.”

The word of the cross is the word of Jesus’ name, God saves. In Him, we can be remembered and known and saved.

Christ, meaning savior or messiah. While hanging on the cross the crowd looking up at Him and the soldiers standing guard mack and scoff at Him saying, verse 35 “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

The word of the cross is a declaration that Jesus is, in fact, the Christ, the promised savior the Bible spoke of so many times for so many years and even more than that the hero and savior we all long for that is depicted in every good movie and book that’s ever been made. We need a savior and we can’t save our saves. The cross says Jesus is that savior, the Christ.

Third, Jesus is called The King. Pilate who allowed Jesus to be crucified had a sign hung above His head on the cross saying, “This is the King of the Jews.” Verse 37 while continuing to mock Jesus the soldiers call up to Him saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

The word of the cross is one which says Jesus is the king who laid down His life for His people in order to save them.

In John 10:14,17-18 Jesus said this,

“I am the good shepherd…and I lay down my life for the sheep…For this reason, the Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down.”

Jesus is the Shepherd-King who goes out in front of His people and lays down His life for them in order that they might be spared and saved.

Fourth and Fifth, Jesus is called the “Chosen One.” The centurion, which means leader of a hundred soldiers hears his soldiers mocking Jesus saying “let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One.” But this centurion sees all that is happening, is listening to and watching Jesus and something provokes him and a gasp escapes from his mouth saying, verse 47, “Certainly this man was innocent.” And The Gospel of Matthew also records him saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

The word of the cross is that Jesus is the Chosen Son of God. Throughout the entirety of Jesus ministry and throughout the scene of the cross we hear Jesus uniquely calling God His Father. Jesus is the special Son, the one and only chosen Son of God. There is none like Jesus, only Him, only He was chosen by God to do what only a God-man could do…to take the place for human sinners and pay an eternal price for their sins with His eternally divine blood.

If you take just the titles of Jesus alone from the cross, the word of the cross conveys a powerful message. But it’s not just the titles, incredible things take place in how Jesus conducts Himself.

Already beaten to a bloody pulp by the flogging we talked about last week where a whip with bits of bone and metal in it was repeatedly hurled down upon His back until strands of tissue hung down and the white of his backbone and rib cage shone through the bright red blood…already with a lot of blood loss Jesus apparently stumbles while being forced to carry one of the beams of His cross, a distance of a little over six football fields uphill.

So Jesus near collapses and they get this guy named Simon, a black man from North Africa to carry the cross beam for Him. While walking the rest of the way Jesus turns to a group of women following Him, addressing them as “daughters” and speaks some words of warning in how they can protect themselves from more Roman destruction that was coming…a final prophecy which was fulfilled about thirty-seven years later when Tiberius of Rome road in and laid waste to the city, killing women and children and crucifying thousands.

The word of the cross is a word of safety. It’s one which says there’s a day which we’ll all die and stand before God to receive judgment, but there’s a way to escape it and be safe. The way of hiding ourselves in Christ and having Him cover us.

When they finally get to the place called “The Skull”, translated as “Calvary” in Latin and “Golgotha” in Aramaic, there the the soldiers put down and attach the two wooden cross beams, force Jesus to lay down upon it and then with 7-9 inch long nails drove them through His wrists and feet.

Then, probably needing a couple soldiers, they hoisted up the cross upright, sinking the bottom into a pre-dug hole in the ground. And then Jesus began to hang. The way crucifixion works is very slow and painful, often taking days. What happens is over time, as the victim is losing more and more blood they lose more and more strength. The weight of the body is put upon the nails in the hands and feet. In order to breath, the crucified must push and pull themselves up in order to get air. But after a long, while they no longer have any strength to reach up for air and die of suffocation.

Luke documents the time it took for Jesus to die being six hours. He doesn’t tell us how long Jesus was hanging there before Jesus, looking out at the crowd of people mocking Him, spitting on Him, likely throwing things at Him…He looks down on them and prays His first prayer, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The word of the cross is a word of forgiveness. I don’t think you can commit a worse sin than killing the Son of God. If Jesus could forgive them of that He can forgive you of any sin. It doesn’t matter how bad or sorted your past is or what sin you are currently caught up in. Jesus looks down at you from the cross and says you can be forgiven. Jesus died so that we could be forgiven of all of our faults and failures.

Next, Jesus while hanging there watches as they play a game to see who gets His clothes. He’s hanging there naked. Can you imagine being stripped naked in front of all kinds of people and then having them make fun of you, spit on and throw things at your privates? Jesus was sexually abused on the cross and yet He says and does nothing.

The word of the cross is a word of solidarity. The silence of Jesus on the cross says so much. No anger. No bitterness. No words of retaliation. He just takes it and stands there identifying with and suffering for all those who have been mistreated and abused. Jesus was shamed so He could take on your shame.

After seeing this and hearing Jesus’ prayer one of the criminals begins to believe that maybe there could be hope for Him, that maybe He could be forgiven for His crimes by this King giving His life away for others. So he turns to Jesus and says, verse 42 “Remember, me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus replies, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Paradise is a word meaning garden. The garden. The garden is where everything first went wrong, where in the Garden of Eden the first man and the first woman sinned against God, going their own way and rejecting God. It’s why and where death entered the world in the first place.

But God had promised to Adam and Eve to one day put an end to the death through their seed, through one of their children’s children. Which is why the Bible calls Jesus, “the second Adam.” Romans 5:18 says one act led to death for all men, the act of Adam but one act, the act of Christ on the cross as the second Adam makes life available for all men. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, ends with a picture of Jesus in the garden, with all those He died for gathered around, singing and dancing and partying.

John Owen, who wrote perhaps the most thorough book on the cross, titled, “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” says,

“The sum of all is the death and blood-shedding of Jesus Christ has wrought and does effectually procure, for all those concerned in it, eternal redemption, consisting in grace here and glory hereafter.”

The word of the cross is a word of redemption, that through Jesus we can get back the garden and be there with Him!

After this interaction with the criminal next to Him on the cross, something earth-shattering takes place. A cosmic event. The sun apparently was shining, but at the sixth hour, noon, when the sun was at it’s brightest all of the sudden hide its face and this supernatural darkness covered the land. The Gospel of Matthew says in that same moment there was an earthquake and then Luke says something incredible happened the temple curtain was torn.

The temple was the Jewish place of worship, basically their church. Inside the church, at the back of the church was a secret room, called the Holy of Holies, where once a year, the high priest would go in through this huge curtain or veil that separated off the room and there he would make offer a sacrifice to God on behalf of all the people so they could be forgiven and cleansed.

Now, this was sixty feet long and thirty feet wide and was about four to five inches thick and the people always had to go through the priest, who would go through this curtain in order to get to God. But Jesus’ death on the cross changed all of that because through that act both the physical and spiritual curtain was torn.

Hebrews 10:19-22 in the Bible says it this way,

“We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain….let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”

The word of the cross is a word of access. Through the cross, we have direct access to God who welcomes us in to freely experience His goodness and grace.

And this brings us to the final moment, the final word, verse 46 in Luke,

“Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”

After six hours of hanging there Jesus uses His final strength to push up on the nails in his feet and pull from the ones attached to His arms and then raises His voice for all to hear, from there in Jerusalem, to the entire world and down to us today, He prays a final prayer and gives His gift saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

And at that moment, Jesus who was there at the beginning with God, who took dust from the ground and breathed life into it so that man became a living being, breathed His last breath, offering up a gift to God. His gift was a payment for the sin of mankind, His innocent life sacrificed as a substitute to be punished instead.

The Gospel of John remembers Jesus after saying that prayer, hanging His head and saying, “It is finished.” The plan the Son and the Father concocted before the foundation of the world as the way to save humanity and show how deep God’s love is, was finished at last.

The word of the cross my friends is a word of completion. Jesus completed what we never good. He was innocent and gave up His innocence to the Father to be punished in our place so we could be spared.

You see there was more happening on the cross than just a human man being crucified like so many others. There was a divine exchange happening between the Father and the Son. Jesus took humanity’s sin upon Himself and allowed not only His human body but His eternal divine Spirit to have the full wrath of God Almighty unleashed upon Him. You and I will never know the full extent of the agony Jesus experienced on the cross out of His love for you and me.

This is what’s before us today. The word of the cross. And it’s either a word of folly or a word of power to you.

The word of the cross is a word saying God saves, Jesus is the Savior, the King, the Chosen Son of God.

The word of the cross is a word of safety saying you can be safe in Christ.

The word of the cross is a word of solidarity saying Jesus stands with you and for you.

The word of the cross is a word of forgiveness saying God forgives you through Jesus.

The word of the cross is a word of redemption, saying we get back the garden and all the wrongs of your life can be made right.

The word of the cross is a word of access saying you can know God and have a personal relationship with Him.

And the word of the cross is a word completion, saying it is finished and complete, that Jesus did everything for you so there’s nothing you have to do any longer to gain God’s favor. Jesus and His work on the cross is sufficient.

The word of the cross is powerful. It’s powerful to save. Is it powerful to you? Or is it folly to you? Are you believing in and turning to the cross for its power? Or are you turning away trying to save yourself or looking to other things to save you?

The cross is where heaven and earth meet and it’s the crossroad for every one of us, whether we will meet and walk with the God of heaven or walk away. Oh, how I pray we see the power of the cross today.

The cross provokes. It provokes and demands a response. Which is why how I want to wrap thing up today is just by seeing the many and varied responses to the cross in the story. So a final concluding point, “The People of the Cross.”

II. The People of the Cross

When you read through the story, there’s eight different perspectives and reactions to Jesus and the cross that I see.

First, there’s this man named Simon of Cyrene. Cyrene was in North Africa, so he was probably black and clearly had traveled a long way and become a follower of Jesus. He’s close by and the soldiers ask him to carry Jesus’ cross. That had to be a significant moment in that man’s life. What an honor.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This man literally took a piece of Jesus’ cross and followed Him.

When we look to the cross of Christ, what we are meant to see is its beauty and its glory and its meant to make us want to embrace the cross. It’s a call to be like Simeon, to carry the cross as badge and identity, that we come to see our lives as an opportunity to carry the cross, holding on to it and displaying it to the world. Are you carrying the cross, showing and telling other people about it or are you ashamed of the cross?

After Simeon, we’re told about another group of faithful followers. A group of women. They never leave Jesus. They are there following him out to Calvary. They’re there afterward following closely. Verse 49 says they had been following Jesus a long time, since all the way from Galilee. And then at the end, they spend enormous amounts of money on spices and ointments for Jesus’ body and burial.

Luke, more than any of the other writers about Jesus highlights the crucial and important role women played in the ministry of Jesus. Here at the cross, they are His most devoted followers. They’re risking their necks just by being there and then they’re giving their money to the cause of the cross. These women are great examples for us.

When we look to the cross of Christ, we’re never meant to leave it. We’re meant to stay close, holding on to it, clinging to its power and its hope. It’s been said that anytime we move away from the cross in our lives we walk into dangerous territory for our souls. We’re meant to stay near the cross and to leverage our finances towards the cause of the cross. Are you staying close to the cross or have you wandered away? Are you giving your money for the sake of the cross or spending it all on yourself?

Simeon and the women are great examples of ways we can respond to the cross. But not everyone saw it that way. The crowds were in a fury…riled up and angry at Jesus for not being the kind of savior they wanted. So they reject Him, mock Him and deny Him.

After Jesus dies, hearing His words, seeing His manner and witnessing creation’s own testimony to the cross, Luke says something happened in the crowd, that they disbanded and went home beating their breasts. That’s a sign of shame. They realized they were wrong, but there’s no mention of repentance. It’s pretty much a hardened turning away.

So the crowd stands as a warning to us. You can look to the cross and not be softened but hardened. You can harden your heart to it. You can feel sorrow for what happened to Jesus but that’s not faith in Him and the message of the cross. The crowd was wrong. Jesus was the Christ, the savior. They didn’t see it. Don’t make their mistake. Have you been hardening your heart toward Jesus?

Next is the soldiers. They too mock Jesus, especially for His claim to kingship. For them, their king is Caesar. Their hope and delight are in government. They esteemed power and physical displays of authority. What they couldn’t see was how corrupt that power was and how unruly their hearts were…that what they really needed was a king to come in and reign in their lives.

The soldiers are a signpost for us, that we need a king to reign in us and that there is no other worthy King but Jesus. Is He your king?

Jesus is hanging on the cross with a sign above Him saying He’s the king and there are two criminals being crucified next to Him. One derides and rejects Jesus, demanding Jesus use His divine power to get them free. The other admits His sin and guilt and turns to Jesus asking Him for salvation.

The two criminals represent two ways we can respond to Jesus. We can just turn to God in crisis or only follow Him for how He might benefit us, wanting the gifts of God but not God Himself. Or we can see our true need, the need for salvation and turn to Jesus, asking Him to see us, know us and remember us.

What kind of criminal are you today, one who sees your need and is turning to Jesus for eternal life or one who refuses to admit their need and continues forward on a path toward eternal death?

Most of the soldiers continued to mock Jesus but one soldier in the story saw the error of His ways, the centurion. He pays attention to what’s happening and to the words of Jesus and responds. Verse 47 says, “He praised God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent!” And in the book of Matthew calls Him the Son of God.

This centurion is a great example for us of change. It took a lot of guts for this guy to humbly admit in front of all his friends and subordinates that he was wrong and to begin praising God and recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. Coming to faith requires us changing our minds and beliefs and that takes a lot of humility and courage.

Are there some things today God is asking you to change your mind about? Is He calling you to begin praising Him?

Lastly, there are two more characters who respond to the cross in different ways. One is Jesus’ twelve disciples. They are noticeably absent from the story. Nowhere to be found. In a moment of weakness and fear they hide, afraid of being crucified too for being so closely associated with Jesus and what He was all about.

On the other hand, there’s secret disciple who speak up, one Joseph of Arimathea. He was actually part of the Jewish council that first condemned Jesus but Luke tells us He actually spoke up and did not consent to their decision and once Jesus is dead offers up his own expensive tomb for Jesus to have.

Joseph’s response to the cross is an example of courage whereas the disciples' response is one of fear. When we look at the cross we see the ultimate courage of Jesus. Because of that we have nothing to fear but can stand up and honor Jesus with everything we have.

Today are you afraid? You don’t have to be. You can stand up and out and honor Jesus and you will be rewarded for it.

And that’s it. Eight different responses in the story which serve as examples for us in how we can be people of the cross.

The irony of it all is that Jesus was mocked for being the savior and ridiculed for not saving Himself. He could have but He didn’t because as He said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many.” Saving himself wasn’t His purpose. His purpose was to save others.

He did that while on the cross, saving not just the one criminal but for all who would put faith in Him and His work on the cross for thousands of people throughout all time. Are you one of those people? Oh, how I pray you are.


Jesus the Lord of the Cross. I started out the sermon today talking about symbols. For those who believe in the word of the cross and are people of the cross, the cross is our symbol. The symbol of death for us is our symbol of life. It’s in and through the cross that we are saved.

Today I simply wanted to tell the story. No fanfare. No illustrations. Just the stripped down story of the cross. I believe in the power of the cross. That it is enough. That it doesn’t need any dressing up. That you can’t make it any better than it is.

It’s my prayer today that as we’ve heard the story of the word of the cross, that our passion and commitment to be a people of the cross has been fanned into flame. I pray Resolved Church that we will always be a people resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I’d like to conclude today by reciting one of my favorite hymns, “The Old Rugged Cross."

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suff'ring and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary

In the old rugged Cross, stain'd with blood so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me

To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true
Its shame and reproach gladly bear
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I'll share

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

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