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The Heart of the Cross

9/3/17 The Heart of the Cross - Mark 15

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Beaten, betrayed, and tortured to death. Why would Jesus (the incarnate Word who created the Heavens and Earth) endure these things? When questioned by Pilate, Jesus remained silent. He did not defend himself in word or in action. Instead, “for the joy set before him, he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 ) because “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ). It was our sin that made the cross necessary, but love and joy were the motivations of Jesus that sustained him on the cross.

 

Resist the temptation to rush to the cross and empty tomb without pausing long enough to truly consider what Jesus endured. He received an unjust trial with trumped up charges where the religious elite conspired to release a known criminal rather than see Jesus go free. The Roman soldiers beat Jesus severely and hammered a twisted crown of thorns into his skull. Then he had to drag the crossbeam of the cross upon which he was about to be put to death. And this is before he even got hung upon the cross, which was so brutally inhumane it was eventually outlawed for even the worst of criminals.

Jesus, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, endured this at the hands of sinful men in order to rescue and redeem the very people who abandoned him. While hanging on the cross he cried, “Father forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 ). He took the suffering and death that we earned (see Romans 6:23 ) in order that we might enter into the Kingdom of God.

 

No one can be neutral when it comes to Jesus. We honor him as Lord and follow him, or we have added our voice to the chorus who cried out “crucify!” May we be like Joseph of Arimathea, who courageously approached Pilate to request permission for Jesus to be buried in his own tomb. As a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, this likely cost him his greatly since he was rejecting the decision of fellow members of the Sanhedrin and aligning himself with a “failed messiah” who was humiliated on a cross.

 

What will you do with Jesus? Will you receive Jesus, though it may cost much… because you know what you receive far exceeds what has been lost? Consider the weight of your sin that was carried and paid for through the cross. Receive the freedom that came by Jesus taking your place. Christian, you can life with confidence because you know that life and freedom came through the cross. Whatever stands against you in life, nothing stands between you and God except Jesus Christ, your Savior. The heart of the cross is God’s loving kindness, which joyfully brings you into fellowship with God.

 

 

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