Summary: Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” John 2:19.

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Theme: Understanding the importance of the cross

Text: Ex. 20:1-17; 1 Cor. 1:18-25; Jn. 2:13-22

The entire message of the Gospel revolves around one unique historical event: the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Writing about this, the writer of Hebrews declares in 10:14, that “By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Perfected and forever speak of a sacrifice that comprehends every need of the entire human race, and its effects extend throughout time and into eternity. A single sovereign act of God brought together all the guilt and the suffering of humanity and offered one all sufficient solution, the cross. However, to receive God’s all sufficient solution to sin, suffering and sorrow, we must not only understand the importance of the cross but also make our way there.

The cross was God’s chosen way of salvation and restoration planned from the beginning of the world. Different people view and understand its meaning differently. According to Paul it was a stumbling block to the Jews. They believed their righteousness could be earned by obedience to the Law. They believed in their own works rather than in God. They sought righteousness by the works of the Law yet no man, apart from Christ, was capable of keeping the Law. The cross is foolishness to the Gentiles. To the Gentile a god is immortal and cannot die. According to their wisdom it is ridiculous to suppose that a god, one who is immortal, should die. The cross, however, is the power of God to believers. The cross, where Christ shed His blood, manifested the power of God over sin, Satan and death. The cross was the place of God’s redemption. It was there that God saved man from certain death and restored the relationship between God and man.

Paul, the author of most of the New Testament, initially could not understand the importance of the cross. According to his understanding of the Scriptures to be hung on a tree - that is on a cross - meant to be under the curse of God. How could someone under the curse of God be the Messiah? How could some people believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah? He was so zealous for what he perceived to be the truth that he persecuted and killed those who believed that Jesus Christ, a cursed person, was God. But his life was radically changed when he understood clearly the reason why Jesus was made a curse. Do we understand that Jesus Christ became a curse because of us, because of you and me? Do we understand that Jesus Christ became a curse because He took our sins upon Himself? He died because of our sin. He bore our sin so that we do not need to bear them. In Christ’s suffering and death, however, He bore more than our sins. If the penalty for sin is death then why did Christ have to suffer as He did? He suffered to enable us lead an abundant life. Jesus Christ took our place and endured all the evil consequences due by divine justice to our sin. If we have any need or problem in our life, there is only one place to go to find God’s provision and solution – it is to the cross of Jesus Christ.

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