Summary: The cross has become a Christian symbol ... a thing of beauty.
The Beauty of The Cross
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (NKJ)
The cross has become a Christian symbol ... a thing of beauty.
A. Buy them to wear around the neck. You can buy them ... sterling silver, 14k gold, or crusted with diamonds and rubies. Jewelers can make them beautiful. But there was nothing beautiful, about the cross on which Jesus of Nazareth died. First century equivalent of an electric chair or gas chamber.
No death was more dreaded by criminals. None so painful or humiliating. So inhumane, Roman law did not permit a citizen of the empire to die by crucifixion.
The cross was an obstacle to Faith. Jesus dying by crucifixion was a great obstacle to the conversion of both the Jews and Gentiles.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (NKJ)
1. Jews looked for Messiah to exert his power among men but could not be subjected to humiliation.
2. The Greeks thought it absurd for the Christians to preach Jesus as Savior; one who died so reprehensible a death could not be worthy of worship.
D. We’ve looked to the virgin birth, miracles of Christ, the matchless life of Christ, the great sermons he preached, but the cross is the central event ... Paul said,
AGAIN WE USE Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (NKJ)
E. The day Christ was crucified has become the greatest day in history. The Cross has become the highest symbol that men have ever looked upon. The influence of the cross has become the mightiest power in all the world.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. (NKJ)
F. We must kneel at the foot of the cross and find its meaning in our hearts.
I. Ugliness of Sin Reveals Beauty of Cross.
A. We think we know something of ugliness of sin.
1. Lady found in garbage can in bottom of swimming pool.
2. Lady stabbed and abused this past week.
3. Man disgruntled with job goes to work with pistol.
4. Lately, we are reminded of our men at war.
5. Look at a drunkards home ... wife and children deprived of necessities of life because of fathers self chose lifestyle.
6. Newborn baby left in a Trash container
B. We know nothing of the ugliness of sin until we kneel at the cross.
1. Making choices contrary to God’s will is no little evil ... sin is the second greatest force in the world.
2. The love of God is the only force that is stronger.
3. It is in the cross that one sees the forces of evil and the love of God clash.
II. Suffering of Cross Reveals Its Beauty.
A. The Biblical accounts of crucifixion told simply and in few words. "There they crucified him."
Original readers of the gospels needed no elaboration, for they were familiar with the horrible details.
1. Scourging, beaten within an inch from death.
Mt 27:26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. (NKJ)
2. Mental torture.
Jo 19:1-3 1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands. (NKJ)
3. The March toward Golgotha.
Jo 19:17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, (NKJ)
Luke 23:26 Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. (NKJ)