Summary: A message for communion centering on the power of the cross
O THE WONDERFUL CROSS
The cross is the most loved, reviled, and misunderstood symbol in the world. It is so common that many do not really know what it is about except maybe a nice piece of Jewelry.
To the Christian the cross means so much more.
Oswald Chambers writes, "In the Cross we may see the dimensions of Divine love. The Cross is not the cross of a man, but the exhibition of the heart of God. At the back of the wall of the world stands God with His arms outstretched, and every man driven there is driven into the arms of God. The Cross of Jesus is the supreme evidence of the love of God."
Herbert Lockyer says, “ At the old rugged cross we see man at his worst, but God at his best.”
No other scripture in the Bible so graphically and perfectly describes how Jesus served humanity by dying for it. No other scripture describes the life, death and exaltation of Jesus better than does Isaiah 53.
The theme that ties this chapter together is that the innocent Servant died in the place of the guilty. Theologians refer to this as the ‘vicarious atonement.’ What this means is Jesus took the place of guilty sinners and paid the price for their salvation.
This amazing passage of scripture was written some 700 years before Christ. Yet it captures more than any other scripture the reason why Jesus came and why he died on the cross.
The details that the prophet gives concerning the pain and suffering of Jesus could have only come from God. This is one of my favorite chapters in all the Bible and as I have read it over the years it never ceases to touch my heart.
I have always come away after reading it thinking that if one did not know when the prophet Isaiah wrote the book one might believe that he was actually there at the cross where Christ died.
Everything we learn about the cross, its torture, pain and revilement is so contrary to what people think of the cross today.
For Jesus, the cross meant rejection, suffering, and sacrifice.
What makes the cross so wonderful?
I. JESUS REJECTION MEANS MY ACCEPTANCE
The NLT says, He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Eugene Peterson in the Message writes even more graphically, He was looked down on and passed over,a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
There are many names, titles and words in the word of God used to describe Jesus. We all know those which are used most often such as Son of God, Son of Man, Christ, King of kings, King of Israel etc….but only Isaiah uses the words “Man of Sorrows” to describe Jesus.
Who is one person in the twentieth century that you would deem the most reviled?
Serial Killer Ted Bundy?
Osama Bin Ladin?
Our minds turn cold when we think of the horrors these men caused. We would definitely put these men into the category of scum.
Yet, despite all the good Jesus did, the love He displayed he was despised and rejected.
Rejection is one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through. To have those who should believe in us and support us hurts deeply. Most of us know this pain. Yet the rejection we experience pales in comparison to that which Jesus, the man of sorrows, had to deal with.
He was scorned by his family. John 7:5 For even his own brothers did not believe….
He was scorned by his friends. John 1:11 He came unto his own but they received him not.
He was scorned by his followers. John 6:64 Yet there are many of you who do not believe
He was scorned by his enemies. In many passages in the New Testament we read of his enemies mocking him and ridiculing him……especially at the cross.
The Bible says that those whom He came to save not only rejected Him, they despised Him, put a slaves price of thrity pieces of silver on His head, and ‘Looked the other way when he went by (LB)’.
Isaiah wrote….we hid our faces from him. Are we hiding our faces from him today ? Rejecting him still ?
The cross is wonderful because Jesus rejection means my acceptance and