Summary: When do things make all the difference? When we are moved to laugh or cry, when we are celebrated or sacrificed for and when we believe.“Why The Cross Makes All The Difference” describes the cross from three perspectives: Jew, Gentile, and the Believer.
There are just some times in our day where things make a difference. Take them out, things go wrong. Add things in, and things go wrong. There are just certain things needed to make a day a good day. Like the correct ingredients in baking a cake or cookies or a roast—the correct ingredients and the correct combination of those ingredients makes all the difference.
You can serve me a ginger ale, it may sparkle, be dark yellow in color, have bubbles, but if it isn’t Vernor’s Ginger Ale something is missing!
Take meat as an example and put it in a low grade marinade--it is still meat, but the flavor of that meat won’t be released unless the marinade does its job by breaking down the meat, releasing the flavor deep within and the right marinade makes all the difference.
You can kiss all different kinds of people. I’ve kissed my mother, my father, my aunts and cousins. I kiss my children too. But get all of the people in the whole world in a line, when it comes for it to be my wife’s turn to kiss, there is something about her that makes all the difference. Something would be missing in all of the others.
Death is the same way. I may go to a hundred funerals, but there is something about being at a person’s funeral who had a living faith in God that makes all the difference. Something is missing in the others.
When it comes to Easter, there are certain ingredients that make all the difference. Take them out or add too much and Easter is all wrong. So I want us to take a look at the necessary ingredients to make Easter right by asking the question, “What Difference Does Easter Make?” What made that Easter different than any other day?
The first ingredient that makes all difference for Easter is the CROSS. Take the cross out of Easter and you mess with an essential ingredient that makes Easter Easter.
The Bible says Jesus endured that shameful cross scorned its shame for the joy that would be his on the other side.
Paul couldn’t shake the message of the cross for it transformed him from an ignorant persecuting zealot into a man who was persecuted for the very cross he tried tear down! But he couldn’t tear down THAT powerful cross! Paul learned how to boast in that cross and said, “by that cross the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”
Christ’s act on that Cross canceled the record of debt for the sins we we’ve committed that stood against us with all of its legal demands--Jesus nailed the record there!
To people who are dying and living life in the fast lane and heading for destruction, the preaching of the cross is foolishness. It is an offense to them, revealing their need they’d rather not be shown.
But in contrast, for those who have found life in Jesus Christ, have also found the power from God for daily living—through the cross is the power of God!
Preaching around the cross doesn’t do any good—it’s empty. Preaching in front of the Cross doesn’t change lives—it robs the cross and makes of it no effect.
But holding forth the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ reconciles all equally to God, it tears away any hostility between people and God and because God used the cross, an instrument of death, as an instrument to make peace through His Son’s blood. The Cross bridges the gap between us and God!
The Apostle Paul, writer of 13 books in the Bible, was consumed with the Cross as a necessary ingredient in not only Easter, but in his every day life. Paul made this statement: “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)
He didn’t say, “When I came and preached to you I wanted to be sure you knew all the things you need to be doing and all of things you need to not be doing.” He didn’t say, “Now listen, this is how you are to worship God and this isn’t how you are to worship God.” Paul wasn’t concerned about morality and religion when he went preaching from city to city. His concern was communicating Jesus Christ as accurately as he could and preaching about the Cross.
When Paul preached, he decided in advance to make his priority to preach the person of Jesus Christ and the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
And you know what my first priority as a Pastor is too? To be sure you know who Jesus is and what He did for you. And do you know what your first priority is? As a parent, grandparent, spouse, guardian, friend, and as a Christ-follower, a Christian—it is to speak about who Jesus is and what he did for your children, grandchildren, spouse, friends and everyone you know and love.