Summary: The cross must be in the center of our lives, because it is the power of God in our lives.
At The Cross
TCF Good Friday Sermon
April 6, 2007
1 Corinthians 1:17-25 (NIV) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Do any of you ever eat at a restaurant, and so much of what’s on the menu looks good to you, that you can’t decide what to order?
But wait, some restaurants bail you out by giving you the choice of a combo meal – two or maybe three different choices in one meal.
I was faced with such a dilemma this week as I pondered the many choices of direction for a sermon on Good Friday. Though the theme of Jesus’ death on the cross is pre-determined by the day on the calendar, there’s so much to think about when it comes to the cross, the events of the day, what it means to us as followers of the One who went to the cross on the original “Good Friday,” that I found it very difficult to focus on one thing, especially with such a challenging topic as the cross of Christ. It didn’t help that I read a very thought-provoking book by a guy who’s becoming one of my favorite authors, John Fischer. His book "On a Hill Too Far Away" is about putting the cross back into the center of our lives.
I have to give credit for some of the ideas in this sermon tonight to this book – which is a tremendous book to read devotionally during the Lenten season prior to Holy Week.
It also doesn’t help when you consider that the cross is described, as in the passage of scripture we just read, as foolishness to those who are perishing, that is, those who haven’t accepted the saving grace freely offered by God through Christ. The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, says 1 Cor 1:25.
But even though this passage also says that to those who are being saved it is the power of God and the wisdom of God, the cross and all it means is still a vast topic that we can never seem to fully exhaust.
So, as I ponder the cross, as we ponder the cross together tonight, we’re faced with this reality – it’s hard to grasp, or to fully understand all that it means to us, and it’s hard to accept as a means of saving the world, because it seems so irrelevant to the world we live in.
Maybe it’s the historical distance that makes it seem irrelevant to the world. Maybe it’s the turning of the cross into an art object or jewelry, instead of what it really was – a cruel instrument of death. Yet, the cross is, indeed, to be at the very center of the lives of those who follow the One who hung there, and bled, and died on this horrible means of torture and painful death.
That’s because to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Notice it doesn’t say, “was” the power of God. It is the power of God. That power echoes, that power resonates, that power penetrates the centuries to this very day. It’s to be the center of our lives, because, as Paul wrote to the Galatians in
Galatians 6:14 (NIV) 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
If the world has truly been crucified, nailed to the cross, put to death, to me, and I have been crucified, put to death, to the world, then the cross is still relevant, still present, in my daily life. And if these things are not true of me, and if we’re honest, they’re not always true or completely true of any of us, then the cross should still be relevant, important to us, because we still need to remember it to put our sin nature completely to death.