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The Power of the Cross

In the days that preceded the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there were many significant events.

On the Friday before His entry into Jerusalem, he arrived in Bethany, which would become a base camp for He and the disciples in the days that would follow. On several occasions, they would make the short trip between Bethany and Jerusalem

On the Sunday before His resurrection, He entered the city of Jerusalem to the shouts of Hosanna to the Son of David!... Matthew 21:9 HCSB

Hosanna, this is to say “Save now” as was the meaning from the Hebrew. The gospel writers transliterated the word for hosanna rather than translating it. As transliterated it is a joyful acclamation, translated it would sound like a prayer.

Accompanied with the declaration …Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! having the concurrence of the Father which refers to the one in whom God has acted or has experienced God’s blessing.

This was more than just a statement to a person to whom there was acknowledgment. It was a pronouncement that He would save them now and that He was the one to whom God had sent to intervene in the life of men.

Over the next few days He will:

  • Return to Bethany

  • Spend a night in prayer

  • Curse a fig tree on the way back to Jerusalem

  • Upon His arrival back in Jerusalem He will cleanse the Temple

  • Heal the sick and then again return to Bethany

  • On the way back to Jerusalem He will discuss with the Disciples the fig tree that is now withered

  • Teaches in the temple for the last time

  • Sees the widow with the 2 mites

  • God speaks to those around Jesus

  • He retires to the Mount of Olives

  • Judas concludes his betrayal plot

  • It is now Wednesday and Jesus retires for the whole day

  • The preparation for the Passover is made

  • He joins His disciples for the Passover and meal and shares with the Last Supper

  • Leaves for Gethsemane

  • Is betrayed by Judas

  • Taken before Annas

  • Night trial before the Sanhedrin followed by a trial during the day

  • From Pilate to Herod to Pilate again

  • Crucified from 9AM-3PM

  • Buried before the Sabbath begins

  • Buried on Friday in the grave the entire Sabbath and arose on the first day of the week before sunrise

  • Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome comes to the grave before dawn and discovers it is empty

  • Peter and John go to the grave and find Him not there

  • Mary Magdalene returns to the grave and meets two angels and then is the first to see the risen Jesus

  • Jesus walks and talks with two on the road to Emmaus who after recognizing Him goes and tells the disciples

  • He appears to His disciples

All of these events are three that are the foundation of the Christian faith. The cross, the burial, and the resurrection.

The Cross

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record events of the crucifixion of Christ. However, each is from a different perspective and provides differing views of what occurred. Consistent with each thought are their reserve, brevity, and sentimentality. There is a focus on the mockery and not the physical suffering. Yet we know from the study of history just how severe this was as a means of taking a man’s life.

Only Luke will speak of the women of Jerusalem and the repentant thief on the cross. Only Matthew reports the opening of the tombs at the death of Jesus and the entry of the saints into Jerusalem. Only John records the argument of Pilate and the chief priests about the sign on the cross “The King of the Jews”. That Jesus' tunic was not divided and that Jesus entrusted His mother to the disciple at the cross and it is only John who identifies Jesus as the true Passover lamb. John also records the prophecy of Psalm 34:20 that his bones would not be broken. John also records the piercing of Jesus' side.

Matthew 27:54

54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

The Burial

After his death on the cross, the body of Jesus was removed and taken to the tomb of a follower who gave the tomb for that use. This follower was Joseph of Arimathea. He was himself a member of the Sanhedrin but did not agree with their actions and he went to Pilate to ask that he be allowed to bury the body of Jesus.

He was assisted by Nicodemus who was also a member of the Sanhedrin and is the one who had come to Jesus in the night desiring what was necessary for a man to be born again. From his encounter with Jesus, we can know specifically what is necessary to be born again.

John 3:16 and 18

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

The Resurrection

The foundation of the Christian faith is the resurrection and it is the exclamation mark of Jesus and what He accomplished. Not only had He led a sinless life He also had given His life for the whole of mankind. Then He places the exclamation mark in His resurrection. It is the resurrection that proclaims His life and He declares it Himself as recorded in

John 14:6

…"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

All the gospels agree that Mary Magdalene was the first to find the tomb empty. Only Matthew in chapter 28 verses 11-15 records the cover-up of the chief priests and others as to the resurrection.

11 As they were on their way, some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.

12 After the priests had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money

13 and told them, "Say this, 'His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping.'

14 If this reaches the governor's ears, we will deal with him and keep you out of trouble."

15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been spread among Jewish people to this day.

Paying the guards to say that the body of Jesus had been stolen in the night by the disciples, for all knew that Jesus had said that he would rise for the dead.

Throughout the next 40 days, there would be many appearances of Jesus not only to Mary and the disciples and to others such as the 2 on the road to Emmaus.

In an appearance with the disciples in which Thomas was there Jesus addresses the doubt that Thomas had-

John 20:24-31 HCSB

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"

27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

At the cross was the declaration of the centurion. When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said,

Matthew 27:54 HCSB

"This man really was God's Son!"

After the resurrection with the disciples and Thomas in-

John 20:29 HCSB

Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed…

The Centurion saw Him, Thomas and the disciples saw Him and believed. You are the one He spoke of when He said Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Our faith stands on all three of these events. The Apostle Paul would later tell us in-

Romans 10:9-10 ESV

...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

The Power of the Cross is God sending His son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. He was buried yet He rose from the dead. This Resurrection Sunday we celebrate a risen Savior in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He is risen, He is risen indeed.

Trusting you and your family have a wonderful time this weekend in celebrating our risen Lord.

In God's Grace,

Elbert Nasworthy

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