Summary: A sermon about the reproach of the cross.
"The Scandal of the Cross"
Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord; remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee; today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Introduction: You may be wondering about the title of this message so I want to say just a few words to preface what I'm going to share in the message. What comes to mind when you hear the word scandal? By definition it means a situation or event that causes public outrage or censure or malicious talk especially about other people's private lives or an outburst of public outrage or censure as a consequence of an event. The cross is a perfect example of this definition. People have been talking about the crucifixion of Jesus for two thousand years.
Let's look at: Of the three men, we find one dying for sin, one dying in sin, and one dying to sin!
I. The Curse of the Cross
Deuteronomy 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: this is quote from:
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
The scandal of the Cross can be seen in:
a. The punitive aspect
We need to remember that the Cross was used to punish criminals. This invention from Persia was perfected by the Romans and used by them for the worst of the worst. The Bible tells us that Jesus was crucified between two "malefactors" and most scholars believe that these men were both murderers. They were there because Roman justice had decreed that they were worthy of this kind of punishment. Part of the scandal of the Cross was that Jesus was innocent of all crimes. This was Pilates verdict and the only reason Jesus was there was because of a desire on the part of the cruel dictator to please the Jewish people.
b. The public aspect
A second thing to consider is that crucifixion was intended to humiliate the victim. The victim was stripped naked for the entire world to see. Most depictions of our Lord crucifixion show Him with some type of wrap about His waist but that is most likely not accurate. The Romans wanted to expose the victim to the greatest humiliation possible to serve as a warning to all those who would break the law or dare to challenge Roman power and authority.