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Posts Tagged ‘The cross’

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2 NKJV

Paul’s statement is worth considering as we sit here in time less than a week out from the celebration of the Passion of the Christ.

What is Paul on about?

The words, “I determined,” speak of a choice. The fact that there was a choice implies that there were other ways Paul could have approached his ministry. For example, he could have tried to be relevant to his audience, modify his message to fit the population, work to attract the world to Jesus and the message of the cross. He could have employed music or drama to appeal to their tastes and make the crucifixion palatable.

But instead, he chose to put aside all rhetoric. This was no small thing because as a Jewish student of the law, he had been trained since a very early age to make arguments and support his position with theological statements of great thinkers from the past. It would have been well within his strength and religious training. He chose instead to let the cross speak for itself.

“[N]ot to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” speaks of a singleness of focus. It speaks of intentionality of thought. Why would he be so narrow in his focus? Perhaps because he knew the liberty of the cross–he himself had been a slave to the law, and had found great freedom in Christ. He wanted that for others. It might also have been the exigency of time that he felt. He may have felt that making the main thing the plain thing was the best use of time. Perhaps he knew the time was short before Christ would return for His church and Paul wanted as many to be ready as was possible.

Paul gives voice to his focus in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul saw that the cross changed how one lived in the temporal.

The cross presents a rift in the fabric of eternity–a fracture in the seemingly unchangeable progression of humanity from the garden forward. At the cross, the futility of the life of man has an end. It is possible for him to be no longer a vapor; no longer like the grass. At the cross, the human soul finds its potential to become a companion of God . . . forever.

Human argument is silenced by this horrific act of God.

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Even if you didn’t understand the sacrificial system under Mosaic law or the significance of the tearing of the veil in the Holy of Holies, granting access to God directly for the first time since God gave instructions for the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness–the Son of God, beaten within inches of His human life, hung on a Roman cross in a rock quarry like a common criminal has to draw your attention.

Paul “determined not to know anything . . .  except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” because that was all that mattered. It is still all that matters.

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Read Mark 15:37-47

  1. What is the reaction of the centurion who stood watching the crucifixion after Jesus died?
  2. Who else was looking on according to Mark’s gospel?

Read Luke 23:44-56

  1. What was the reaction of the crowd to the death of Jesus according to Luke?
  2. Who was not present at the foot of the cross? Why?
  3. Read Psalm 34:20 and compare it to John 19:36. Why is this similarity significant?
  4. Read Exodus 12:46 (See also Numbers 9:12). According to John 19:36, why were none of Jesus’ bones broken?
  5. Read Zechariah 12:10. Zechariah lived in approximately 520 B.C. Why is this significant?
  6. Read Isaiah 61. Why did Jesus the Christ (the Messiah) come? List at least 4 reasons from Isaiah 61.

Note: Isaiah lived in approximately 760 B.C.

  1. At the cross, we see several different types of people. First of all we have the women who followed Jesus accompanied by John. Second, we have the Roman soldiers and the Roman Centurion (supervising soldier), Third, we have the religious leaders, watching as their threat is (apparently) eliminated. And Fourth, we have the mockers. Compare these four groups of people. Observe how they are all alike. Describe their differences. Describe how each is changed at the foot of the cross. Describe how each group leaves the cross.
  2. We, before we knew Christ, belonged to one of these groups. Which one did you identify with? Religious? Mocker? Rule keeper? Broken and hopeless? Explain.

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