The Cross 3. Redeeming the Cross
Key Text:2 Corinthians 5:11-21
We gather here this morning to celebrate Jesus and His victory! The victory of Christ is seem most evidently when we look at the Cross.
What we see is a contrast.
What happened on the cross has to be seen as gruesome and horrible; and yet God has redeemed it to a symbol of hope for all who believe!
This is what God did with the cross and this is what He does in us
Our text this morning is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
But before we get there I want to recap what happened this faithful morning 2000 years ago.
When the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus' body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb.
On the way they were discussing who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. But when they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone - a very large one - had already been rolled aside. So they entered the tomb, and there on the right sat a young man clothed in a white robe. The women were startled, but the angel said, "Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn't here!
He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid His body. Now go and give this message to His disciples, including Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died!" The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, saying nothing to anyone because they were too frightened to talk.
It was early on Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead, and the first person who saw Him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and found the disciples, who were grieving and weeping. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen Him, they didn't believe her.
Afterward He appeared to two who were walking from Jerusalem into the country, but they didn't recognize Him at first because He had changed His appearance. When they realized who He was, they rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. Still later He appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their unbelief - their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
And then He told them,
"Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in My name, and they will speak new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won't hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them."
When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God's right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked with them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
In light of that let's read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
You see God through Christ took the most brutal of images and turns it into hope; and he does the same in us. what is amazing about the resurrection is that Jesus through His power over death has shown than he has
Christ's resurrection shows us that death has been defeated; life has been restored to all who believe.
Christ died for all and as Paul puts it therefore all die. To put it another way; because Christ died for us we now share in His death.
But this death is not a separation and pain that we usually associate with death. Because through the Cross Christ and through the resurrection which we celebrate today Christ redeemed Death!
Resurrection Sunday shows us that there is indeed hope; we are not bound to death but because we have died with Christ we are now bound to life and to His victory!
But in the same way we have died with Christ because on the Cross and through the resurrection our sins were dealt with our old self was dealt with; and so we do indeed died.
Paul Puts this in a very clear way; if anyone is in Christ He is a new Creation the old has gone and the new has come!
Have you ever thought about the fact that because of the Cross and because of resurrection you are not the person you used to be!
The resurrection of Christ has redeemed us (won us back) and we are changed forever because of that.
I don't know about you but when I reflect on what was done for me on the cross; when I see the power of resurrection, I know because of that reality I can never be the same!
Death is no longer my great fear; rather it is a joy because I know when I close my eyes for the last time I will see my saviour!
Therefore death itself is redeemed!
We who know Christ and the power of His resurrection Death is not an enemy but a transition to ultimate glory!
And this is the great story of the resurrection; it redeems our death!
Not only that but the resurrection is also about
The power of the resurrection does not stay at the tomb 2000 years ago but is imparted to everyone who believes so that not only our death is redeemed but our very life!
Paul reminds us that the power of the death of Christ transforms us; the old has gone the new has come!
Our lives can never be the same after encountering resurrection life!
Jesus Shows us that there is hope that there is life and therefor shows us that there is more to live for here.
that is why Christ says;
"I have come to give life and life in its abundance."
It is only when we fully engage that we are not made for this world that we are made for the resurrection that we can start to live this life for what it is truly for; the glory of God!
So radical was this idea to the early church and the roman world of the 1st century that the message of hope in the resurrection spread like wildfire throughout the world!
I wonder how our world would change if we were shaken again by the fact that we are made for resurrection life.
I wonder how our world would be different if Christian took up their Cross and walked in the power of the resurrection of Jesus?
Resurrection Sunday shows again that we are called to the resurrection life; because Friday taught us that we and our old lives have died with Christ on the Cross.
In all this something new started as so the resurrection is also about
Redeeming us (the new community)
Christ started something amazing that Sunday morning; he confirmed His power and started the resurrection community.
This community would be enlivened supernaturally and empowered to live in the world as those who do not belong to it.
It would be a community that would live out the resurrection life; a life of reconciliation (as Paul puts).
That community would be called the church and would survive through countless oppositions and horrific persecution; but this community would not live clinging to their lives for they have a hope of another life a life where they will spend eternally with their saviour.
We are that community and the resurrection has changed us; we are a community that should be an instrument of change in the world, an instrument of hope and light to the world that we find ourselves in.
We are called to live out the resurrection power in the world that we find ourselves in.
We are called to live as that community of reconciliation calling all men everywhere to find the resurrection hope that we have found!
Resurrection Sunday becomes our rallying cry as we reach out to the world.
Our call is to look at the empty tomb and know that there is a redeemed death; where our sins are dealt with and we are innocent again!
There is a redeemed life where the very life we live is forever changed by the one who conquered the grave! A life lived in its abundance for it is lived from resurrection power
And there is a redeemed community empowered by what Christ has done for us! living out resurrection life for the sake of the world we find ourselves in.
This I believe is the call of Resurrection Sunday! This is the hope that we hold onto and we bring into the world.
And so I wish that you indeed have a great day spend with Family celebrating the Victory of Christ; however I pray that we might go out in that victory with the ministry of reconciliation that has been given to us by the one who reconciled us to God!