Summary: The crucial cross of Christ is a look at the centre piece of Christianity.
Mark 15.16-41. The Cross of Christ
The Cross is central to Christianity without it there would be no faith, it is the crucial work of Christ upon that cross which brings atonement (at one with God) The cross not only has a big impact on our lives but also on our language. The word crucial is derived from the Latin word crux for cross. The cross is crucial to Christianity.
• The Cross of Christ is crucial to Christianity. All the gospels lead us up to it and climax.
• The Old Testament with a prophetic voice reveals the cross to us.
• The Acts of the Apostles tells us how the first preachers proclaimed the Cross.
• The New Testament Epistles brining out the great meaning and the ethical demands of the Cross.
• Believers through the centuries have centered on the proclamation of the cross.
• Our baptism is into the death of Christ - Rom 6; 3.
• When we partake in communion we proclaim the Lords death until he comes 1cor.11; 26.
Liberals today feature more on the teaching of Christ like the Beatitudes, with its ethical teaching giving the idea that this will liberate the people of the world once everyone adheres to such things. I do not want to degenerate such things. But if we are to be true to the N.T. we must see the Cross as at the very heart of it all. Changes will only arise when individuals come to the cross.
1. The Cross-is a place of Rejection.
Rejection has to be one of the worst things we as human beings can do to another. Rejection we see it everywhere in our world – in our communities – even in our families - nobody is immune – no doubt we have all experienced it to some degree or even been the instrument of rejection.
But the worst type of rejection any human being can demonstrate is the rejection of Jesus – There appears to be a growing subtle rejection – BA air hostess who was banned from wearing the cross at work.
Subtle rejection: On Thursday I was in school and we sung ‘he made the stars to shine’ the head was very uncomfortable with the words ‘but this is why, I love Him for me He bled and died, the Lord of all creation became the crucified.’ The head was very uncomfortable with these words - but this is the centre of the message of Christianity, a message which she obviously rejects at this moment in time.
But here at Golgotha it’s not subtle, its open and blatant rejection, for all to see........
a. The Roman soldiers are violent towards Him v19
The soldiers were hard and callous trained to be so; it was clearly demonstrated towards Jesus.
Were they just doing their job? Yes and No - like any solider they are used to violence – here they were probably went beyond their remit. Mark 15 v19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spat on him. We see that humanity as a tendency to go beyond the call of duty.
Christians today around the world are facing violent - torture in place like N Korea –Indonesia- Iran –Iraq –The words of Jesus become a reality to them. John 15:20. ‘If they persecuted me they will persecute you.
b. The crowds are insulting Jesus. V29 those who passed by hurled insults at Jesus
Just the everyday people of that time and place, who were present just want to throw insults at Jesus no doubt - told by the religious elite here was a man who was no good a man leading the people astray with lies. And so they hate him and cast insults at Jesus they reject him.
Type of rejection we see today as people in passing use the name of Jesus as a verbal insult.
John 1:11 He came to his own but his own received him not. His own people the Jews he died for yet so many rejected him - He came to us also as the head of humanity - have you rejected him as Saviour?
c.v31 The religious elite mocked him among themselves.
They are rejecting his claims to be Messiah and Lord V32 amongst themselves. Oh how sad it is to that there are many religious people who will not accept the claims of Christ upon their lives - those amongst the religious elite of all religions who reject Jesus as the Son of God and so reject the claims of Christ has upon our lives.
Ghandi said “I could accept Jesus as a martyr, an embodiment of sacrifice, and a divine teacher, but not as the most perfect man ever born. His death on the cross was a great example to the world, but that there was anything like a mysterious or miraculous virtue in it, my heart could not accept.