The Cross as the Power & Wisdom of God?

It’s holy week in the Christian calendar. This Friday is Good Friday, remembering the crucifixion of Christ. Sunday is Easter Sunday where we celebrate that Jesus walked out of the grave alive.

In connection with holy week, yesterday I decided to look at the cross-event in my message (which you can listen to or download here). But rather than viewing the cross through the eyes of one of the Gospel writers, I looked at Paul’s words found in 1 Cor 1:10 – 2:5. Continue reading

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I Still See The Beauty

How could a crown equal cross and nails?
I still see the beauty.
It seemed the divine had truly failed;
I still see the beauty.
With all the blood beneath the core;
I still see the beauty.
With all the foolishness, there could be no more;
I still see the beauty.

Ridicule, tears and pain
Ground soaked by stain
Voices hoarse, curse his name
Brokenness of body and frame
I still see the beauty.

Grasping for air as body sinks;
I still see the beauty.
Of wrath endured no one can speak;
I still see the beauty.
A cry echoes loud that day;
I still see the beauty.
Questions follow within the shame;
I still see the beauty.

Forgiveness, life and joy
Unspeakable, there stands no ploy
Soul is stilled, serenity
New creation provided for humanity
I now taste the beauty.
I now drink the beauty.
I now dance the beauty.
I now sing the beauty.

I still see the beauty.

The Importance of the Resurrection

The Easter season is upon us, the time when we remember both the crucifixion of Christ for the sin of mankind and His resurrection from the grave. These two events wholly sum up what we could call the ‘first Christ event’, as we rightly expect Him to return a second time to complete that which He started. And, with Easter approaching, there is one truth that all Christians, from east and west, north and south, and everywhere else in between, should keep in mind.

Christ’s followers should be encouraged that the ultimate crux of Christianity lies not in the cross, though that was necessary and important, but rather in the resurrection. As Paul makes clear to the Corinthians:

17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)

When reading these words, one can see how Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection. Josh McDowell stated it this way:

‘I came to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon people, or it is the most important fact of history.’ (A Ready Defense)

It’s not that we disregard Christ’s atoning death on the cross for mankind. Such an act leads us to weep at times and shout at other times. But, in the bigger picture, the cross was a step towards something greater – the resurrection and ascension of the Son of God back to the right hand of the Father that He might now rule over of all things (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:18-23).

Dr. Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University in America, was declared in the mid-1800’s by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of America to be the greatest authority on legal evidences who ever lived. Interestingly, Greenleaf decided to turn his studies to the evidence concerning the resurrection of Christ. His findings were recorded in his book, ‘An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.’

Yeah, they had long titles in those days. It wasn’t about short, snappy titles to make big bucks.

During his career, Greenleaf conducted an in depth examination of the evidence for the resurrection of Christ. Upon doing so, he concluded that, in any unbiased courtroom in the world, if the evidence for the resurrection of Christ were presented, it would be declared as an absolute historical fact. He also held that there is more evidence supporting the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history. Some conclude there is even more evidence for Christ’s resurrection than evidence that Julius Caesar ever existed. Pretty interesting!

And, of course, we must not forget the testimony of the Scriptures, this being the faithful, God-breathed Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the Bible that has been recognised as an historically accurate account of the events it records. And it is in the Scripture that we read the testimony that Christ appeared to over 500 people during a period of 40 days. Check out the list below:

  • Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18)
  • Mary, mother of James and Joseph (Matthew 28:1, 9-10)
  • Two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32)
  • Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  • Ten disciples in the upper room (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
  • Later eleven disciples in the upper room (John 20:26-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  • Seven disciples fishing (John 21:1-23)
  • Eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20)
  • The disciples at the ascension (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8)
  • More than 500 hundred followers (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  • James, brother of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  • Paul (Acts 9:1-19; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8)

What we, as followers of Christ, stand on is truly solid ground. This was no hoax. It is the most important historical event in the history of mankind.

Yet, though we have all of this historical data, we still must be moved in our hearts by the Holy Spirit to receive this truth, the truth that changes our lives and makes us new creations. We must still accept this by faith. And, thus, this is the Easter message we believe:

The Son of God, who put on a body of flesh and gave His life at the cross to bring mankind back into relationship with the Father, was raised by the power of God and has ascended back to the Father to pour out His Holy Spirit and rule over all!

The resurrection has been the key, has been the truth and has been changing lives for nearly 2000 years. If Christ had not come out of that grave, then the incarnation (birth of Christ) and the cross would be deemed irrelevant. But, these events find even greater importance because Christ did walk out of the grave on the third day.

And so, this life-changing message of Easter has not lost one drop of its power, even after 2000 years. It is this Easter truth that the saints of past, present and future generations rest their faith in, a sure and solid truth. So, let us celebrate the power of the truth that Christ actually got up and walked out of the grave!