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Summary: Redemption was necessary because of our sinful condition. It was purchased by the blood of Christ. And it stirs us to serve Him.

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THE SCANDAL OF THE CROSS

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 (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:22-23).

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13; cf. Deuteronomy 21:23; Acts 5:30; 13:29).

• “Christ crucified” – the “CURSED one” is the “ANOINTED One.” “Christ crucified” is a contradiction in terms (like “godly murderer”). Christ (Messiah) meant power, splendor, triumph; crucifixion meant weakness, humiliation, defeat.

• “Stumbling block” (skandalon) – offense, SCANDAL. “‘Scandal is in fact closer to the sense than ‘stumbling block,’ since the word does not so much mean something that one is tripped up by as something that offends to the point of arousing opposition” (Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, p. 75). Skandalon is also found in Galatians 5:11: “the offense of the cross.” Many Jews viewed the crucifixion as the ultimate proof that Jesus had been cursed by God for some sin of His own.

• “Foolishness” (moria) – stupidity, MADNESS. “Gentiles wrote off the message of the cross not as eccentric, harmless folly, but as dangerous, almost deranged stupidity” (D. A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry, p. 22).

“They say that our madness consists in the fact that we put a crucified man in second place after the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of the world.”—Justin Martyr (100-165), First Apology 13.4

“I discovered nothing but a perverse and extravagant superstition.”—Pliny the Younger (62-113), in a letter written to Emperor Trajan asking for advice on how to deal with Christians, Epistles 10.96

“Christus…suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition thus broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome…”—Tacitus (56-117), Annals 15.44

“Why do you embrace your cross, you fool?”—from The Passion of the Christ, spoken by one of the criminals to be crucified with Jesus

WHAT IS REDEMPTION?

1. Redemption is deliverance by payment of a PRICE.

Illustration: Bottle redemption

2. The price paid is the RANSOM.

Illustration: Ransom note

Examples of ancient redemption:

• SLAVERY

“If an alien or a temporary resident among you becomes rich and one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells himself to the alien living among you or to a member of the alien’s clan, he retains the right of redemption after he has sold himself. One of his relatives may redeem him” (Leviticus 25:47-48).

• PRISONERS OF WAR

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe (Psalm 107:1-2).


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