Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
The Message 1 – The Cross
In this brief series called Consequences, we are looking together at 7 consequences of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today we start to look at the message of the early church regarding this Jesus – a message which is also relevant to us today! This message is the Easter story – Jesus’ death and resurrection!
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
There is a problem in the world, which has been a problem since time almost began! That problem is sin. Sin is anything that separates humans from God, which as a consequence leads to both a spiritual and physical death (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:2). Under the Old Testament Law or Covenant, sins were dealt with by blood sacrifices of atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11), for without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice was God's way of dealing with sin. These blood sacrifices of the Old Testament signified several things:
However, the ultimate solution to sin was not the continual animal sacrifice of the Old Testament because the blood of animals was unable take away sin because they were only a veneer. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again! But those animal sacrifices pointed forward to a time when they would no longer be necessary! They pointed forward to the time when only through the Christ’s death on the cross, that sin would be taken away (Hebrews 9:11-15, 26-28) and not merely covered or coated!
What has this to do with Jesus? We see in the Gospels how Jesus Christ was tempted and taunted by satan to disobey God to the extent of not going to his death on the cross. If Jesus had ever succumbed to temptation, and sinned against God in thought, word, action or inaction, then He Himself would have needed a Saviour. That is why Jesus is the perfect sacrifice – because he never sinned and he always did what He saw God the Father wanting Him to do. Because of the cross and resurrection alone, satan, death and sin have all lost their sting and have been vanquished. WOW!
The Cross is a choice!
And there is yet more to the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ! All human beings, in their natural state, are born sinners and have rebelled against God (Romans 3:23). However, because of Jesus’ death on the cross, God offers forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), Peace (Romans 5:1) and reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). Through the cross, humanity can choose to be made just before God (Romans 3:24-26) as it cleanses from sin (1 John 1:7) and makes humanity right before Almighty God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of the Cross, we can choose to have direct access to God (Ephesians 2:18) and Jesus Christ intercedes for us (Hebrews 2:17-18). Because of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, all those who choose to follow Him have freedom from slavery to sin (Galatians 5:1) and freedom from the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14). None of the above things are true if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately the Cross brings you to a choice. You can accept the cross and therefore be guaranteed peace with God. The cross of Jesus Christ epitomises God’s glory. Jesus Christ, as the Son of God who was simultaneously fully God and fully human, died on a cross, taking on Himself the sins of the world, paying the greatest price, so that you can be restored into a peaceful relationship with God the Father. That is for all people, of all nations, ages, generations, statuses and gender. There is a price to pay for those seeking to be followers of Jesus Christ! They must surrender completely to Him, be prepared to identify with Him in suffering and death and be willing to follow Him obediently, wherever He leads.
Jesus death on the cross was preached by the early church! That is also to be our message as church in the 21st century, but that was only part of their message! The second part of the message we will look at in the next of our series, “Consequences”! See you soon at Partakers!
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