07 Feb Why the Cross?
Originally posted on September 26, 2003
The first century missionary tour of the Apostle Paul in Europe saw mixed reception. Some believed his message of Christ and become followers, while others did not. Those rejecters of the message did not quietly go home and leave Paul to his preaching. They incited riots, had him beaten and jailed, and hurled enough verbal abuse at him to make the average person go into hiding. The full account of Paul’s travel travails is recorded in Acts 16-17.
The next stop for Paul, after the beatings and ridicule, was in the city of Corinth. There he made a bold statement. He said that rather than change his message because of the trouble it caused, he would stay the course and continue to proclaim “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:3)
Why this message? What is so important about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross that preaching it in the face of persecution is worth the risk?
The Cross of Jesus Christ is our only hope of reconciliation with God. II Corinthians 5:18-21 tells us that God reconciles people to Himself through Jesus Christ. More specifically, we are told that Jesus Christ become sin on our behalf and that His death on the cross was to pay the penalty of our sin. When we come to Him in repentance and faith, our sins are forgiven and we are made right with God.
The Cross of Jesus Christ is our model of discipleship. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says that if we want to be His follow, we must take up the cross. He means that the essence of discipleship is that we, like Him, live not for ourselves, but for the glory of God in the redemption of people. We live for Him even at great sacrifice and suffering. We die to a life of self-centeredness and take up the life of service to which Jesus calls us. The cross of Christ is our model of discipleship.
The Cross of Christ is the basis of unity in the world. People need to know where they belong in this world. By faith in Christ, a person belongs to Him and to His body, the church. In Ephesians 2:16 we read that we are, “reconciled into one body to God through the cross.” By the payment of Christ for our sins, and at the foot of His cross in repentance and faith, all groups, ethnicities, and cultures are united in Him. We belong to the people of the cross.
The Cross of Christ is the message of the church to the world. The greatest message ever spoken is that of Jesus Christ’s cross which reconciles us to God, shows us how to live, and tells us where we belong.
At Grace Community Church, we are seeking to be people of the cross. We invite you to worship with us and investigate this message for yourself. You can find the details of our worship service and ways to contact us on this web site.
God’s blessings to you,
Scott Patty, Pastor