1. The history of the Cross
2. The reason for the Cross
3. The results of the Cross
4. The response to the Cross
I. The History of the Cross
The history of crucifixion can be traced back to the OT Egyptians (Genesis 40:19) and the Persians (Esther 7:10).
Fast forward many hundreds of years to Alexander the Great, after the conquest of Tyre, he had two thousand Tyrians crucified as punishment for their resistance.
• Spartacus’ revolt: Spartacus himself died in battle, but approximately 6,000 of his followers were crucified along the 200 km road between Capua and Rome, as a warning to any other would-be rebels.
• Peter (according to tradition, Peter was crucified upside down at his own request, as he did not feel worthy to die the same way as Jesus)
Andrew (according to tradition, crucified on an X-shaped cross, hence the name St. Andrew’s Cross.)
During the time of Christ
Crucifixion was a punishment that was only for slaves or criminals of the worst kind and Roman citizens were exempt from it.
From the earliest accounts of the history of crucifixion, it was considered the most horrible form of death. To the Jew, it would seem even more horrible because of the curse. “You must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance” Deut. 22:23
Crucifixion was loathed by the Jew, not only because of its pain and shame, but because anyone thus hanged was considered accursed by God (Deut 21:22, 23; Gal 3:13).
If the Jews used crucifixion (as a deterrent) it was usually done after the death. n other words, the body or the head was tied to a stake and therefore, placing the head on a pole after death was also called crucifixion.
Christ’s death by crucifixion was, therefore, the ultimate in human disgrace.
The image of the Cross has changed a lot over the past 2000 years. At the time of Christ, the latin word “cross” was used as an obscenity (it was a dirty 4 letter word) in Latin it was spelled “crux”. Over the period of 2000 years we have taken the word and the symbol of the cross and have not only sanitized it but have also sanctified it. There is nothing wrong with that for the cross is the crux of our belief. It is the crux of the matter. Everything hinges on the cross. It was not only a radical sacrifice, but it was also the ultimate measure of how hideous is our sin.
I. The Reason for of the Cross
A. The Holiness of God 1 Peter 1:16
The holiness of God demands punishment for sin. There are consequences for sin that must be experienced. Before the sinner can approach and have communion with a holy God, some means of appeasement must be provided. The requirement as stated in the OT to approach God is that blood must be shed.
B. The justice of God. Hebrews 9:27 Man has deliberately, defiantly and deviously disobeyed God. We do what God has told us not to do, and we refuse to do what he commands. We sin against God and have incurred His displeasure and condemnation. God rightly adminsiters the penalty of a broken law. God must visit sin with punishment.
This God who is perfect in his composition and action, rules his creatures according to the law that he perfectly fulfills. His justice requires humans to adhere, to obey, or to fulfill perfectly the same law that he perfectly fulfills. God’s justice demands judgments on those who are unable perfectly fulfill the law as God perfectly fulfills the law.
Since man never has, is not presently, nor ever will perfectly fulfill the law. This inability to keep, adhere, or obey the law is referred to by God as sin.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
C. It satisfied the Law of God. Gal. 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” Christ’s death was not merely satisfaction of the justice of God; it was a satisfaction of the law of God. The law of God is grounded in the very nature of God, and transgression of the law brings with it penalty. There was no escape from the curse of God’s law. It was just; we were guilty. There was only one way to be free: someone must pay the penalty.
The law’s demands have been fulfilled by Christ’s perfect law-keeping, its penalty fully paid by his death. This is why the Bible teaches that getting right with God is not based on law-keeping: “A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16). Our only hope is having the blood and righteousness of Christ credited to our account.
C. The Fulfillment of the Scriptures (Psalm 22, 69, Isaiah 53, Luke 24:25-27, 44).
The crucifixion of Christ was necessary to the fulfillment of the predictions of the Old Testament-predictions inseparable from the person and work of the Messiah. If Jesus Christ was the true Messiah, the predictions regarding His sufferings and death must be fulfilled in Him
1. Passover Lamb (Ex. 12:1-28)
2. Levitical sacrifices (Lev. 1-7)
E. The righteousness of God Gen 18:25 As God is holy, without the possibility of sin, without any flaws or defects, so also is His dealings with humans. God’s DNA is perfect, this then produces perfect actions, perfect interactions with humans. God is right in all of his activities. God is righteous.
Gen 18:25 Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Jer 9:24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
God is righteous in that everything He does is in conformity to the Law (his law
II. The Results from the Cross
A. He Died to Redeem us. Mk. 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
B. He Died to Justify us. Rom. 3:26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
C. He Died to Appease God’s wrath 1 John 2:22 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
This is what sin is—dishonoring God by preferring other things over him, and acting on those preferences. Sin is insulting God.
The seriousness of an insult rises with the dignity of the one insulted. Since our sin is against the Ruler of the Universe, “the wages of [our] sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Not to punish it would be unjust. So God sent his own Son, Jesus, to divert sin’s punishment from us to himself. God “loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation”—the wrath-absorbing substitute—“for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Then God publicly endorsed Christ’s accomplishment by raising him from the dead, proving the success of his suffering and death.
D. He Died to Free me from sin’s power Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
E. He Died to Give me Eternal Life John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
F. He Died to Show me God’s Love Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The measure of God’s love is shown by the degree of his sacrifice in saving us from the penalty of our sins: “he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). When we add the horrific crucifixion that Christ endured, it becomes clear that the sacrifice the Father and the Son made to save us was indescribably great! The measure of his love increases still more when we consider the degree of our unworthiness. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Our debt is so great, only a divine sacrifice could pay it.
G. He Died in my Place Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
H. He Died to Make me a Child of God John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
I. He Died to Make me a Home in Heaven John 14:2-6 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
J. He did to save me from “hell” on earth
Life lived as a believer is radically different from living life as an unbeliever.
The Bible clearly teaches the radical difference in referring to believers as children of light and the unbelievers as children of darkness.
Hell – Pain, suffering, regret, and remorse on earth – in our many relationships.
The fighting, name calling, foul language, swearing, cursing, hollering, screaming, deliberate acts to hurt the other, deliberate neglect, – the manipulation, teasing, negativity, critical, faultfinding
Saved from a wrong worldview – ego-centric, center of the universe, entitlement, ease, From being stingy, cheap, tightfisted
IV. Response to the Cross (accept, reject, another day)
Lets talk about accepting, There is a sequence
The Importance of the Doctrine
When Jesus sent forth the twelve and seventy messengers to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of heaven, He commanded them to preach repentance (Luke 24:47; Mark 6:12).
An important point in the preaching of the Apostles was the doctrine of repentance: Peter (Acts 2:38); Paul (Acts 20:21).
The Nature of Repentance
A. Touching the Intellect
Matthew 21:29-A servant said he would not do what was asked and then repented, to change one’s mind, thought, purpose, or views regarding a matter. This change is well illustrated in the action of the prodigal son, why changed his mind about living on the wild side on his own and went back home.
Luke 15 Prodigal Son And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
B. Touching the Emotions
2 Corinthians 7:9-11; As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
The Greek word for repentance in this connection means “to be a care to one afterwards”, to cause one great concern. The Hebrew equivalent is even stronger, and means to pant, to sigh, to moan. So the publican “beat upon his breast,” indicating sorrow of heart.
C. Touching the Will and Disposition
One of the Hebrew words for repent means “to turn”. The prodigal not only thought upon his ways, and felt sorry because of them, but he turned his steps in the direction of home. Repentance is a crisis with a changed experience in view. Repentance is not only a heart broken for sin, but from sin also. We must forsake what we would have God remit. In the writings of Paul repentance is more of an experience than a single act. The part of the will and disposition in repentance is shown:
Believe – knowledge, agreement, trust