Summary: This message focuses on I Corinthians 1:18. "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but o us who are saved it is the power of God."
Beyond the Cross
-Salvation to all who Believe-
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy week, the last week of the public life and ministry of Jesus. Holy week goes from the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem to the crucifixion on Friday to the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
To prepare for His entry into Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of his disciples; possibly Peter and John, to find a colt for him to ride. Jesus said, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.” (Luke 19:30) This action would fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout. Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king, comes to you righteous and having salvation gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Peter and John are near Bethphage and they see a colt tied to a post outside the doorway of an inn. “Remarkable, isn’t it,” says John. Its right where he said it would be. Peter comments, “Yes that is remarkable, but compared to what happened to Lazarus rising from the dead it’s not such a big deal.”
They approach the colt and untie it and Peter says, “I don’t like this. Judas should have come with us with money to pay the owner.” Then they hear a cry from a man standing nearby- “Hey you two, what are you doing?” Bold Peter says, “What do does it look like we’re doing. We’re taking this colt. Our Lord sent us to find a colt and bring it to Him.” Some men standing nearby call out. “You have no right to steal that colt.” Then the owner of the cold walked up to John and asked, “This Lord of your, would he happen to be the Prophet from Nazareth?” “Yes He is,” John replies.
“We have heard rumors of his arrival, the man says.” “Will he pass by this way?” John nods affirmatively. The owner thinks for a few moments. “The story about a dead man -- Lazarus of Bethany. Were you there? Is it true?
“Words cannot do it justice,” Peter replies. “I smelled the stench of death myself, and out of the dark tomb, Lazarus came forth, called out by our Lord.”
The owner of the colt makes his decision. There can be no harm and possibly great gain in extending a favor to a famous worker of miracles. “Go ahead, take the colt.” Peter unties the colt and smiles at the man.
“Tell me,” John asks, “Has the colt been ridden before?” “The colt has never been ridden,” the man replies.
When the disciples arrived back with the colt, Jesus got on the colt and rode toward Jerusalem. Luke 19:41, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” Others looked at the city and did not weep. Why did Jesus weep? What did He see that others did not see?
Jesus probably saw beyond the façade of people’s position, prestige, power or possessions. Jesus saw empty lives, and people living purposeless lives. Jesus knew that for the most part the population of the city did not completely understand His message of Salvation. Many were searching for another free meal or signs and miracles. Jesus could see the shadow of Good Friday hanging over the city. Shouts of “Hosanna” would quickly turn to “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.”
Jesus knew that his leading a parade into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was part of the preparation for the Cross of Calvary and His death as God’s Lamb of sacrifice for the sins of the world.
The Cross of Calvary was a historical event in history. “Beyond the Cross” is the message of salvation for all who will believe.
The Apostle under divine inspiration explained the true message of the cross in I Corinthians 1:18, “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.”
From this passage in I Corinthians 1:18-25 we can draw three distinct truths.
I. The Cross is a Stumbling Block to all who Refuse to Believe.
The cross is foolishness to all who are perishing. Unbelief has no cultural boundaries; both Jew and Gentile are guilty. The cross to the Jew was a stumbling block, and to the Gentile it was foolishness.
Both Jew and Gentile refused to believe Jesus was the Messiah in spite of the many signs and miracles and healing Jesus demonstrated before the people. Their hearts were hardened by their traditions and laws.
When Jesus healed a blind man they accused him of healing by the power of the Devil. The fact that Jesus died on a Cross gave further evidence that Jesus was the mere son of a carpenter and not the Messiah. No Messiah would suffer and die. How could he save others when he could not even save Himself? The cross was a stumbling block to the Jews.