Summary: What is the significance of the cross? Why the cross? Why did Jesus die?
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What is the symbol of our faith? Many were suggested:
Dove? Holy Spirit?
Rainbow? Sign of the Covenant?
Loaves and Fishes?
The one that was accepted was the ___Cross____.
Nobody is shocked today – they’re almost inoculated to the idea of a cross, because it’s become such a symbol of hope and victory in our culture…
But in the first century, it’s difficult to imagine how this happened!
What would you think if people gathered around a picture of an executed man, whose head was shaved for the electric chair, who had burn marks from the huge current that his body took… and said, “How beautiful!”
POWERPOINT> Put an electric chair on the platform of your church, and see how difficult it is to get your church going.
How did THIS become the symbol of Christianity?!
How did we get to a point where Paul, a highly educated man, and a forceful personality, said this:
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
How could he get to that place?
Cicero said that decent Roman citizens should not even speak of the Cross.
Why? Let me explain:
DESCRIPTION OF CRUCIFIXION.
Literally, death by suffocation. Nails fastened through the wrists (considered part of the hand in the ancient culture) would stretch out a person’s rib cage and make them unable to breathe deeply.
Nails fastened through the feet would make you able to push up and breathe for a few gasping breaths until the pain and blood loss and exhaustion foced you to collapse again into the shoulders.
The agony of not being able to breathe was only matched by the agony of the nails and the out of joint shoulders.
Romans would not even crucify their own citizens. Only those who were foreigners or treasonous.
“Excruciating” literally means “from the cross.”
6,000 people in one day – Spartacus’ followers – 120 miles of crucifixion. Imagine driving from here to past Tulsa… and hearing the screams, seeing the people baking in the sun.
It was done in public… imagine if our government did it in the parking lot of WalMart, or at Quail Springs Mall.
Don’t pass quickly by the Cross. “Jesus died on the cross for all your sins.” True. But you don’t have any idea what this means.
Madonna laid on a cross on her “Confessions” tour.
50 Cent wears a cross while performing.
They have no clue. There was nothing fashionable about the cross.
This was not originally something to wear in gold or silver.
I’m here today to bring back the “offense of the Cross.”