Around 2,000 years ago, Paul, the Apostle said this – the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (Corinthians 1 1:8)
The cross that Jesus died on splits the world in two camps. Either you belong to the camp that looks at the cross and says – that’s pathetic – or you look at it and say – wow, that’s powerful. So if you believe it’s pathetic, you are actually perishing, but if you believe that’s the power of God, you are saved. You are either this side or that. But in order to be able to understand the power of the Holy cross, you will need to understand the One that died on the cross. Paul says - I’m determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Corinthians 1 2:2).
The one who died on the cross is Jesus. Jesus is the Christ, which means the Son of God. In Hebrews the word Christ means “Messiah.” It also means the One anointed with the Holy Spirit. This means Jesus is also the king, because KINGS are anointed. Look into the Bible and you will know that Kings are anointed, regardless of whether the wear crown or not. So Jesus is The Christ, The King and The anointed one. Jesus has been anointed with the Holy Spirit even before the world came into being. This means Jesus is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. He is also the Son of God. That means He has always called God, the Father, His daddy. He is the eternal Son of the Father. He is one of the Trinity.
Now look at the cross and see who is hanging?
He is God the Son, loved by God the Father and filled with God the Spirit. Jesus is the Lord of this world. Look around and see everything, He is the centerpiece of all realty. Now when you look at the cross, what do you see?
In the gospel of Mark, especially in the first 8 chapters we see Jesus revealing Himself to the world. He was healing sick, raising the dead and forgiving the sins. Jesus was acting like a King. He was commanding creation. He walked around as if He owned the place. That’s because He is Christ – means the Son of God.
But what kind of Christ is Jesus?
On the way to villages around Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples “What do people say I am?” Peter said “You are the Christ” meaning not just a great prophet or a miracle worker, but the Christ, the One anointed by the Holy Spirit and the Son of God. To this Jesus warned not to tell anyone about Him.
Because, though they knew He was Christ, they did not know what kind of Christ He is? And Jesus explains them the Kind of Christ He is. “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again” (Mark 8 31:33).
It was too difficult for Peter to comprehend all of this. It sounded pathetic to him and you know what happened. Jesus rebuked Peter. According to Jesus, it’s satanic to suggest the He avoid the cross. So if you are thinking Jesus should have avoided cross, you are thinking the things of men which is actually satanic.
If you realize that Jesus must be killed, you are having in mind “the things of God”.
But why Jesus had to die?
He died because He came for that very purpose. He died for the world. The day Jesus died was Passover. It was a time of celebration of how the Lord saved His people from Egypt. Jesus saved the world by providing a Lamb. Passover Lamb died in place of those under judgment. The cross becomes the altar of God where Jesus is slain. The Spirit is described as the Living Waters and Jesus says that if you have the Living Waters of the Holy Spirit, you will never thirst. On the cross, Jesus cried out “I am thirsty.” He also cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”, which means “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
On the cross He is Godforsaken and Parched. He doesn’t even experience the Living Waters of the Spirit. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last and died on the cross. That very time the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. No one was allowed to go through this curtain into the Most Holy Place – the presence of God, except for the High Priest, that too only once a year and only on a basis of sacrifice.
But when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain was torn apart into two from top to bottom. The barrier that kept sinners away from God was broken the moment Jesus died. Jesus became the True sacrifice and died in our place. He’s the meeting place of God and man. He was the Lamb of God slain for our sins. His final words were “It is Finished.” Means, it’s accomplished. Jesus paid for our sins, once and for all. By His death the curtain is torn and now sinners like you and me can come into the presence of God, the Most High, through Jesus.
Cross is the most sacred alter on which the Lamb, Jesus was sacrificed for our sins. It is the altar of God where the blood of God was shed for our forgiveness. Through Jesus, we are welcome into the presence of God, for free and forever.
That’s the power of cross!