Summary: Good Friday; the cross is foolishness to those who perish.
The foolishness of the Cross
After the supper, Judas went out to hand Jesus over to the leaders
The time had come; God’s timing was perfect
Prophecies were to be fulfilled
Is 53, Ps 22, Gen 3 and many more
The garden scene:
· Jesus prays
· The disciples sleep
· The guards arrest Jesus
· Then the courtyard betrayal by Peter
(Give a brief overview of the events leading to the cross)
The religious leaders had a problem: they were afraid of the people.
Jesus was a popular teacher
They had to kill him because of his growing popularity
First they tried to trap him, but Jesus answered all their questions
Then they were publicly embarrassed because they could not answer his questions.
They continued to look for a way to get rid of Jesus.
The Pharisees were Jesus’ main opponents, but here the chief priests, took over because they had the political power
As we look at the political powers today we also see how they are taking away the truth and watering down the message
The scribes were the legal experts who doubtless were needed as they attempted to build their case against Him
Satan was involved in this deception (Luke 22:3 Satan entered the heart of Judas)
The Crucifixion involved more than the jealous ambitions of a few religious leaders and the disillusionment of one disciple; it involved a cosmic battle between God and Satan, a battle in which Satan was completely defeated
Colossians 2:15 and having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross
To the high priests and the teachers of the law, Jesus was dangerous; He had to be eliminated
They presented false charges against Him
Pilate saw through their blatant lies. He knew Jesus was innocent
They pressurized Pilate with threats of a rioting
He couldn’t see any way out
A riot would jeopardize his leadership
He sent Jesus to Herod
Have you noticed how people who don’t know what to do with Jesus pass him over to someone else?
Or they compromise
They make excuses as to why they should pass Him by or reject Him
The Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus on theological grounds—blasphemy—but because this charge would be thrown out of a Roman court, they had to come up with a political reason for executing Jesus.
Their strategy - present him as a rebel who told the people not to pay their taxes and who claimed to be a king and thus a threat to Caesar.
The charges against Jesus in the Roman court were rebellion and treason
The very charges of man against God
The first accusation: Jesus was subverting the nation
The second accusation: Jesus opposed payment of taxes
The third charge: he was claiming to be Christ, a king
Like Jesus, we shall be wrongly accused at times, those who walk the way of the cross always will be
They had wanted a king who would lead a rebellion; Jesus did not fulfill this
What expectations do people want from Christianity?
They want to see a sign; they want something, which looks in the eyes of man strong and manly
They expect God to answer their every beck and call like a puppet on a string
But Jesus was different; he showed true power and strength by His actions
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter Is 53 (reading)
Those who were executed were supposed to say, “May my death atone for all my sins”; but Jesus confesses the sins of those who falsely convicted him
The preaching of the cross is central to the gospel
So what exactly does the death of Jesus represent?
You will never understand the significance until you know ‘who’ was hanging there
Why did Jesus have to die?
Why did God die?
How does God solve the separation with his creation?
We hear the solution from John the Baptist; he only preached one sermon
‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’
Jesus had one purpose in mind, to reconcile the world to God Rom 5:6-11 (reading)
The OT is full of animal sacrifices
By laying hands on the animal, the transferred their sin to it; they then killed it and shed the blood
Passover lamb type and symbol of Christ
The cross and his death was central to Jesus’ own teaching
The Jews stumbled over it because Jesus wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted.
1 Cor 1:17-23 (reading)
Their interpretation was of a messiah who would come and overthrow the world power, a military figure
Jesus didn’t fit their ideals; he was unwilling to fight
Dying on the cross didn’t look like success or power
It didn’t look like victory