Journey to the Cross: Easter Sunday
Journey to the Cross:
Part A: The Cross
My task is to preach on the Cross. This morning we will be
asking 2 Big Questions of the cross
What is the Cross? What has Jesus done?
To answer the first question
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being
saved. 19 For it is written,
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent.
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the
law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the
world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world
did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save
those who believe through the foolishness of what is
preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek
wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to
the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are
called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and
the wisdom of God, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than
human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human
What is the cross?
Foolishness: The cross is foolish to the world. It is foolish to
those who are perishing – to those who reject the gospel. If you
want to preach the cross of Christ you will be considered foolish
to the world, foolish to all who don’t not believe in Jesus or
what he has done.
Christianity was never meant to be popular. It was never meant
to be a contest and at large it is not cool to the world. Don’t try
to make it popular. Love people and win them to Christ
absolutely but don’t try to fool the world into thinking the
message of the Cross is hip. It’s not it’s ancient and barbaric
and if it’s true it changes everything!
Power and Wisdom of God:
The Power of God to those who are being saved. Power unto
salvation. Power over sin, death, and hell. Power to go from
orphan to son and daughter, from outcast to a vital part of the
family. When we think of the power of God sometimes, we can
fantasize about his mighty miracles, healings and the wonders
he is able to do but no miracle tops the changing of a human
heart. The cross is the Power of God.
The Cross is also the wisdom of God!
The great riches of wisdom that undoes the wisdom of this
world. God’s foolishness is wiser than the world wisdom. Gods
worst plan destroys our best. His foolishness is better than all
our power and wisdom. Colossians 2:3 Paul says that in Christ
are hidden all the riches of wisdom and knowledge. We have
the wisdom of God in Christ and in his death on the cross.
All the wisdom behind the creation of all things is behind the
cross and hanging on the cross.
The second big question
What has Jesus done?
To answer this we’ll jump quickly to the OT in Numbers.
The Israelites complaining and God punishes them with
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake image and mount
it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will
recover.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a
pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the
bronze snake, he recovered.
Why a snake on a pole? They needed to see the curse
The thread of redemption we see throughout scripture. All the
scriptures point to the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins.
This is a story about how God delivered the Israelites but it’s
also a story about how he would redeem us again. This story is
about the cross, sound like a stretch? This isn’t my
14 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the
Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes
in him may have eternal life. 16 For God loved the world in this
way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who
believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God
did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but
to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is
not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already
condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the
one and only Son of God.
He has been exalted in the same manner and even worse than
him riding in of the donkey. He came into town low and went
out of town lifted up high and hanging on a tree.
What has Jesus done?
Jesus has made a way. Just as he made a way for the Israelites
in Numbers 21, he has made a way of salvation on the cross.
This is the primary theme of all scripture. That God is
redeeming for himself a people. That he is rescuing sinners like
me to preach the gospel. He died once for all sins. His shed
blood on the cross makes a way for us to enter the Kingdom of
God and the presence of God.
What else has Jesus done?
Jesus became sin.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making
his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be
reconciled to God.” 21 He made the one who did not know sin to
be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness
Thinking of worldly wisdom. This is wrong by all our standards.
This cannot be and yet this is God’s chosen method of
redemption. Think and sit on that. The Son of God who never
sinned became sin. Think about the bronze snake on the pole
God put the curse up and if they looked at it, they were healed.
God has put up our curse on the cross so that any who looks to
him will be saved and brought back to God. The curse of all sin
for all time was poured out on Jesus on the cross FOR US! What
Jesus has done is perform the greatest act of sacrificial love
known in all history.
The Cross is foolishness.
The Cross is the Power and Wisdom of God.
Jesus has made a way of Salvation for us.
Jesus became Sin for us.
The Cross raises 2 questions you need to answer for yourself
“Am I so lost that a man would need to die?”
“Am I so loved that he’d be willing to do it?”
The answer is yes.
Part B: The Resurrection of Christ
John 1 Corinthians 15:12-22
This weekend is certainly about the Cross and the death of our Savior Jesus Christ. And while the
message of the Cross is the message of the Gospel, the message of the Cross is not anything without
what today, Easter Sunday is all about, namely the Resurrection. The power of the Cross is that Jesus
overcame the cross in the Resurrection.
Paul writing to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22 says:
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no
resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has
been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in
vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he
raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are
not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 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.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in
Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Paul’s argument here is that if Christ has not been raised then everything we are doing here this
morning is meaningless.
But the fact is (he states in verse 21) Christ has been raised!
Earlier in verses 3-8 he says:
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in
accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in
accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he
appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though
some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to
one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Paul says, “I have seen the living Christ!” Me, who was a blasphemer, an enemy of the faith, a
persecutor of Christ followers.
The apostle Peter, says, “We did not follow cleverly devised fables, but were eyewitnesses of His
The apostle John says in his first epistle, “We have heard, we have seen with our eyes, we have looked
upon and touched with our hands, the Word of Life!”
Thomas seen and felt the nail scarred hands and the wound in his side and proclaimed, “My Lord and my
We can be confident that the Resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact! Men are not marched off to
martyrdom for lies.
And our confidence in Christ’s resurrection is meant to give us hope for our resurrection.
Paul says in verse 21 that all die in Adam and ALL are made alive in Christ. Now we know that Paul is not
saying that All will be resurrected into everlasting life. That would be universalism and that is not the
teaching of scripture.
So All will not be made alive in Christ, but only His True Church. Only those from all denominations and
churches that have put their faith in the Living Christ and his finished work on the Cross.
Apparently in the Corinthian church there were those that like the Sadducees, did not believe in a
resurrection. We say to ourselves, what a miserable existence that would be. But in the modern age
we live in, it is especially easy to forget and live our lives as if there is no resurrection. We have no
problem believing in a Jesus that takes care of things in the here and now, but to quote Paul, if Jesus
only benefits us in this life then how futile is that? Remember, Jesus said He was the Resurrection and
Resurrection is the goal of the Christian Life, namely the same resurrection that Jesus experienced. This
is the goal and the hope of the Christian Life. And as we said a few weeks ago, no matter what this life
brings our way, we have a confident hope and the promise of a resurrection and eternal life in Christ
At the beginning of the service we sang a medley of songs, and one of those songs was “Because He
Lives.” It was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither in the late 60’s. The world was a lot like it is today,
tumultuous. The Vietnam Conflict was still raging, there seemed to be a fundamental shift in values in
the culture. The idea of “God is dead” had infiltrated the educational system. Drug abuse and racial
tensions were escalating. In the midst of these uncertain times, the Gaither’s learned that they
pregnant. They wondered if it was wise to bring a baby into a world such as this.
One day as they were out in their parking lot they saw a patch of grass that had sprung up in the
concrete. They saw it as a symbol of the Resurrection and Because He Lives was written shortly after.
This is why the second verse is: “How sweet to hold a new born baby, and feel the pride and joy he
gives; but greater still, the calm assurance: This child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
This morning, despite the uncertainty that we are faced with, we can face it in full confidence that He
lives! And because He lives, all those who put their trust in Him will live too.
Paul wanted the Corinthians to have this hope as well and because of Paul’s letter we can know and
understand the mystery that is the Resurrection
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the
perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we
shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the
trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this
perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall
come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the
Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Paul says in a moment. In the twinkling of the eye. I was listening to John Macarthur yesterday while I
was mowing. He was preaching on this same passage. He mentioned that this is not a blink. It’s a
twinkling. The Greek word meaning the most rapid movement possible. It refers to the time that it
takes for light to reach the retina. Someone said that it would be like one-sixth of a nanosecond.
A nanosecond is on thousandth of a microsecond. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second and a
twinkling would be one-sixth of a nanosecond. In other words, the resurrection will be very quick. We
will almost instantaneously changed!
I want to leave you with this thought this morning.
Every generation has had it’s share of struggles. Whether it be war or famine or a world wide pandemic.
We are shocked because things seem so uncertain right now, but in reality, God has used the COVID 19
virus to unmask the fact that this life is always uncertain! That is the nature of this temporary existence
here on planet earth.
But Jesus said this in John 16:33
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have
tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”