Summary: Jesus and the cross is the hinge that brings life to what once was dead.
Title: The Hinge
Date: 4/5/15 Easter
CT: Jesus and the cross is the hinge that brings life to what once was dead.
FAS: Some years ago, a 14-foot bronze crucifix was stolen from Calvary Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas. It had stood at the entrance to that cemetery for more than 50 years. The cross was put there in 1930 by a Catholic bishop and had been valued at the time at $10,000. The thieves apparently cut it off at its base and hauled it off in a pick-up. Police speculate that they cut it into small pieces and sold it for scrap.
The thieves figured that the 900-pound cross probably brought about $450. They obviously didn't realize the value of that cross.
That is the problem, of course—understanding the value of the cross. As the gospel writers relate the story of Jesus' crucifixion, the theme that runs through them all is rejection. Not only did people not see the value of Jesus, they also didn't understand the value of his death. May we not be so blind!
Author Max Lucado describes the pivotal nature of the cross in history and in each of our lives.
It rests on the time-line of history like a compelling diamond.
Its tragedy summons all sufferers.
Its absurdity attracts all cynics.
Its hope lures all searchers. History has idolized and despised it, gold-plated and burned it, worn and trashed it.
History has done everything but ignore it. How could you ignore such a piece of lumber? Suspended on its beams is the greatest claim in history.
A crucified carpenter claiming to be God on earth. Divine. Eternal. The death-slayer. Never has timber been regarded so sacred. No wonder the apostle Paul called the cross event the core of the gospel even in it’s foolishness to some.
It's bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, it is history's hinge. Period. If not, the cross is history's hoax.
Which is the cross for you, hinge or hoax?
I. If there were ever anything in this world that changed the way it is viewed over time, it would be the cross. It began as a symbol of suffering. Jesus used the image of the cross to prepare his disciples for the struggle they were about to face.
Matthew 10.38-39, Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
This verse applies to us here today. Being a Christian brings opposition when we identify with Christ. When we take up our cross, there will be struggles and sacrifice.
Verse 39 teaches us to not cling to the things of this life that cause us to forfeit the best from Christ in this world and the next. If we love our leisure, power, popularity and money more than Christ, we will end up empty, lifeless.
So in the time of Jesus’ walk on this earth the cross meant struggle and sacrifice.
II. The cross as a symbol of death. The cross for the average person in Jesus’ time was a reality of the most horrific death imaginable. Jesus faced this cross willingly for all of us.