Summary: The cross, the center of Christianity, spans the divide of history and the bridge between fallen man and a holy God.
The focus of our preaching must be on the cross of Christ. There are many ideas, philosophies, or political opinions that the enemy would like to have us focus our preaching on. But it is imperative that the "foolishness of the cross" be central to all that we declare. The cross is what makes Christianity powerful, scandalous, mysterious, and even confusing. Yet the cross is our glory, for in its shame we are redeemed from our sinfulness into the glorious salvation of Christ. In this modern day, as it has always been, the cross is foolishness to intellectuals, inhumane to liberals, and an offense to the self-righteous. In the cross we see both God’s wrath upon our sinfulness and His mercy extended to us. Without the cross there would be no Christianity, no redemption, no way for fallen humanity to be reunited with their Maker.
The focus of the gospel is the cross. This is seen very clearly in the Gospel according to Mark. Mark, in his account of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, focuses his narration of the gospel story around the cross of Christ. He is the first theologian of the cross to use the literary vehicle of a gospel narrative. The entire Gospel of Mark is centered around the Passion of Christ.
Throughout his entire narrative, Mark foreshadows what will occur at the climax of his story -- the cross. The foreshadowings not only prepare the reader for the conclusion of Christ’s earthly ministry in His passion, resurrection, and ascension; but also show that Christ laid down His life willingly (His enemies could not take it from Him in all their evil attempts), and Christ understood this sacrifice was an atonement for sin.
The epitome of Markan atonement theology is expressed in Christ’s statement in Mark 10:45, the institution of the Lord’s Supper in Mark 14:22-24, Christ’s cry of agony in Mark 15:34, and the rending of the veil in Mark 15:38.
II. FULFILLMENT OF THE SUFFERING SERVANT (Mark 10:45)
A. Mark 10:45 "for even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many."
B. What is a Ransom?
1. λυτρον is the price of release, specifically the money paid for the release of slaves.
2. λυτρον is the theological term often used to refer to Israel’s redemption from Egyptian bondage.
3. λυτρον is the price paid to effect the release of one who is in some kind of bondage, and that the meaning of this word was extended to include the payment for release from guilt and penalty.
4. λυτρον is singular because it refers to the one sacrifice of Christ’s life that is efficacious for many, in contrast to the never-ending sacrifices which were practiced throughout the Old Testament economy.
5. In this context, λυτρον is not referring to a money price, but rather an expiatory sacrifice.
6. λυτρον alludes to Isaiah 53:10-11 and is to be understood in the sense of the Hebrew Word asham which is "an offering for sin, an atonement offering."
7. By laying down His life for a mankind who is enslaved to sin, Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53:10-11 concerning the Suffering Servant.
C. Christ our substitute
1. αντι denotes the idea of "in the place of, in exchange for, and instead of."
2. αντι clearly refers to the substitutionary significance of Christ’s death.
D. In this saying, Christ is alluding to Isaiah 53, and revealing that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant.
E. In Christ’s self-understanding of His mission, he realized that his vicarious death was a fulfillment of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
F. Isaiah 53:3-7 & 10, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hat borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."