There have been many sermons preached on the cross. However, we can never hear too much of the story of Jesus. I love the words to the hymn: “tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word, tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.” The cross is the focal point of history. You can either accept it or reject it. However, in order to make that choice, you must understand what the cross is all about.
The reason for the cross. The reason for the cross is so that God would be glorified through the saving of sinful man. Look at Romans 5:12-21. Sin entered into the world by one man. Ever since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, every person that is ever born inherits a sin nature. Sin brings death. Romans 6:23 tells us, ‘the wages of sin is death…’ But there is good news. God has a plan. In the Old Testament, God sets up the sacrificial system to cover man’s sin. God makes the first sacrifice to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. We also see the blood of the lamb in the last plague in Egypt. The blood saved the first born of God’s chosen people from the death angel. God’s people would then perform sacrifices to God in order that their sins would be covered. However, God has a greater plan. He promised His people a Messiah. This Messiah would not just cover sin, but He would take it away. Look at Isaiah 53. Here we find a picture of the one that was to come to pay the ultimate price for sin. The Lamb of God that we read about in Isaiah is none other than Jesus Christ. Jesus came to this earth in order to die so that we may live. The reason for the cross is to give life to a world that is cursed with sin.
The crudeness of the cross. The cross is no pretty picture. Even one of the greatest depictions of the cross, seen in the movie ‘passion of the Christ’, does not even come close in comparison to what Jesus really went through. There are three terrible things that Jesus faced when it came to the cross. The first was the fact that they scourged Him. This scourging was designed to inflict as much pain as possible without killing Him. Jesus was stripped of His clothes and was tied to a post in such a way that the skin on His back was stretched tight. The soldiers then took a whip made of nine strands. Each strand was made of leather and in those strands of leather there were pieces of glass and sharp rocks. The soldiers would then proceed to slash Jesus with the whip. The whip would tear into His back and wrap around His body. With each slash of the whip, chunks of skin would be ripped from the body of Jesus. Not only did they scourge Jesus, but they also spit on Him. Look at Matthew 27:27-31. Of all that Jesus went through, I believe, the worst was when they spit in His face. Imagine. The very ones that he created in His own image was now mocking Him and spitting in His face. I wonder how often we have done the very same thing. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, every time you hear the Gospel and reject it, every time you refuse to give your life to Jesus, you are spitting in the face of God. As believers, when we fail to obey His Word and live the way He would have us to live, are we not also guilty of spitting in His face? After all this, they crucified Him. Read Luke 23:26-49. A Roman crucifixion is the most terrible and inhumane way that anyone could die. As we read of the crucifixion of Jesus we are compelled to ask, ‘why?’ Why did He do it? After all, He is God. Why did Jesus not just wipe everyone out and go back to heaven? Why did He put Himself through so much pain and torture? The answer is beyond anything that we could ever understand. He did what He did because of love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus went to the cross because He loves you. He did not want you to perish in your sin. He desires that you would know Him and spend eternity with Him in heaven. “Oh How He loves you and me….”
The results of the cross. There are many things that was accomplished on the cross that so often we fail to realize. First of all we see the atonement. Look at Romans 5:11. In the King James Bible it reads that by Him we have received the ‘atonement.’ The word ‘atonement’ is the Greek word ‘kattallasso.’ It means to exchange or to change. Jesus took our place on the cross. He replaced our sins with His blood. The price of all sin was paid for on the cross of Calvary. Jesus will never have to die again. He was the once and for all final sacrifice for the sins of the world. All those who believe in Him are given His gift of grace and are set free from the penalty of sin. A second result of the cross is redemption. Read Ephesians 1:7. To be redeemed is to be bought out. Through the cross of Jesus, we are bought out of the slave market of sin and we are set free. No longer are we bound to the penalty and the power of sin. We are set free and we become His child. Another result of the cross is justification. Read Romans 3:24. To be justified is to be pardoned. You and I have been sentenced to death and eternal separation from God in hell because of our sin nature. However, through the blood of Jesus, we have been issued a pardon! This pardon is made available to all people.
Jesus died on the cross for you. He died so that you may live. The price of sin has already been paid for you. God has already issued a pardon for your life through the blood of Jesus. Now, the ball is in your court. You must, through faith, accept God’s gift of grace. You must repent of your sin and turn to Jesus. Have you done that? Has there been a time in your life when you accepted God’s free gift of salvation? Have you been to the cross?