Summary: The cross of Christ is in the centre of God's Word and His world.
THE CENTRALITY OF THE CROSS
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:13-25
The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is central in God's Word and God's World. It is outworking of the God's redemptive purpose in time and eternity. The message of the cross is central in the Old Testaments, Psalm, the Prophets, the gospels, Acts, the epistles and the book of Revelation.
The cross is also the centre of the world. It was planted on the Calvary for the salvation of mankind. The cross divided the human history and is the converging point of two eternities.
Most importantly the cross is central to human experience, as it governs our relationships: in family, in society with others and authorities. Without cross there is no hope, no peace, no harmony. This is evident from today's passage, written by Apostle Peter.
I. The Cross is God's Standard for us (I Peter 2:21):
The example means "something written underneath", "traced" or "copied over". Christ has been our example to follow. He is our model to follow. He has gone before us on the same way and we need to walk in His steps. The life of Jesus is God's standard for us in following ways:
a. Sinless perfection (2:22)
Peter refers here Isaiah 53:9. He was very close with the Lord and had seen the life and conduct of Jesus very closely.
Hebrews 4:15- Jesus was 100 percent God and 100 percent Man. He went through all types of temptation we are going through but He never succumbed to temptations, He never committed any sin. There was no guile found in His mouth. He never lied, He resisted all temptations from the Devil and always was victorious.
Since Jesus never committed any sin, He did not deserve to die (Romans 6:23). But as a lamb without blemish He suffered and died for us on the cross. Only a sinless Savior could atone for sinful mankind.
b. Absolute Submission (I Peter 2:23):
The emphasis in this verse is on the surprising silence of Jesus and His submission to the treatment that he never deserved.
Read Isaiah 53:7
When unjustly reproached, he didn’t answer back, when unfairly treated he never condemned his oppressors, or invoke judgment upon them. He never used his divine authority to stop his opponents. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus opposed physical attack by his disciples (Mathew 26:52-53) and didn’t order angels to come and defend himself. He willingly allowed to be arrested, mocked, persecuted and even crucified. Jesus was like a sheep allowing shearers without any oppose.
John 10:17-18- He willingly gave up his life for us.
This is the standard God has set for us in our relationship with masters, government, with husbands and wives. But the objector says, "This is impossible. If this is what God expects us then we are hopelessly lost!" Of course the Bible says in Romans 3:23, we are hopelessly lost because we have sinned and fallen short of glory of God. When we measure ourselves against God's standard do we realize our desperate need of salvation.
II. The Cross is Our Source of Salvation (I Peter 2:24):
The only reason God sent His Son to die on the cross is because there was no other way to remove the guilt of sin and to save the souls of men. If there was another way, surely God would have devised it and He would not have to send His Son as a man and die on the cross.
It is at the cross we see that God's love and His justice are beautifully mingled. Just God commanded that the punishment of the sins is death (Romans 6:23) and a sacrifice must be offered for the atonement of the sins. We are the real culprits because of our sins and we deserved to die.
Instead of that God loved us so much that He didn’t want us to take the punishment. Therefore He sent His Son Jesus to take our place on the cross and die "on our behalf" so the justice requirement of God was fulfilled in Christ. The cross is the ultimate expression of God's love for us.
Romans 5:8- While we were sinners Christ died for us and demonstrated supreme love
Romans 8:3-4- Christ was the fulfillment of God's just requirements.
That's why the cross is central in God's plan of salvation for us.
The salvation is in three fold: past, present and future
a. We are delivered from the penalty of sin (past tense)- The death of Christ on the cross was the only solution to the forgiveness of all the past sins. He took our sins on Himself while He was hung on the "tree"
Isaiah 53:5- Jesus took our sins upon himself. His sinless body was a perfect sacrifice for our sins.