The Offence of the Cross (Communion)
The cross meant a curse. It was ugly, cruel, uncivilised, hard and costly. The message of the cross and the claims of Christ are costly and exclusive. This is a highly offensive message still for the religious and the irreligious. It speaks of your sin. The cross says you need a saviour and there is no other way.
The preaching of the CROSS is an offence.
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
This GOSPEL is an offence.
This BOOK is offensive.
The CROSS is offensive.
To the Jews it was a CURSE. It was a shame, a reproach, shameful.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
The cross is UGLY. It’s unpalatable. It’s repulsive. It’s a graphic, horrible sight. Some would rather have a cross-less religion.
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
The cross is offensive. It’s CRUEL. Yes, it is. But it is necessary. There was no other way. And there still is no other way. The cross speaks of CHRIST’S BLEEDING LOVE. It speaks of tasting death.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
That’s offensive. Yes it is. It had to be.
The cross is UNCIVILISED, it’s brutal, it’s rugged. Yes it is. It goes against everything that religion and man’s philosophy would say. It goes against your pride in your own pathetic religious works and rituals and traditions. Because THERE IS NO OTHER WAY but the cross.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
People who hate God mock Him still. They will mock the cross and mock His love. Yet they stand in danger of judgment.
That’s offensive, preacher. Yes it is.
He was wounded, He was oppressed, He was afflicted. He hath poured out His soul unto death. That’s offensive.
The preaching of the cross is an offense.
But the cross is HARD and stark and severe, you say. Yes it is.
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
The cross had to be harsh because God is severe and heavy against your sin. He is angry at the wicked. He had to vent His just and righteous fury in full. His holy justice was fully poured out. But, why? So now He can show His abundant mercy to such as we who will come by the offence of the cross unto Him.
The cross is too COSTLY, you say. There must be an easier way. A way to still have my own way and my own works. No the only way is the cross. Your self righteousness will send you to Hell. You must depend upon His, and His alone.
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Our Lord had to drink the bitter cup of suffering, there was no other way.
The cross is NEGATIVE, it’s too bold, too insensitive to other’s feelings. It’s too limiting. I say to you the cross is an offence. Some will say, let’s water it down, let’s make it more palatable, let’s change the message, let’s take some of the bitterness away…
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
His call is UNIQUE. His claim as Saviour stands alone. There is no other Saviour.
It’s offensive. But it had to be. Preacher, you may say, that’s too EXCLUSIVE. There must be other ways, other saviours, other religions, other beliefs. Other paths to God. YOUR BEST WORKS are as filthy rags. Neither is there salvation in any other… His claims ARE exclusive. He says I am the Way. He says you must believe on Him. That’s offensive. Take it up with God. Better yet, come and reason together with Him, and come to your knees before Him.
Yes it’s offensive. The offence of the cross. You may say, there must be some other way, I can save myself, you say. You may say I have another way that I can make, I don’t have to bow my knee alongside these other simple wretches who don’t deserve salvation as much as me. No, wretched man, you are just as guilty and foul as the worst of men. You must have the offence of the cross to bear your guilt. You cannot wash the stain away by your own effort. He alone can be your substitute and provide for your forgiveness.
Some will mock the cross and the preaching of it. They will consider it foolishness to believe….
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
I urge you… You have need of the offense of the cross. You must see it, for what it is, in the starkness and horror of it.
The cross is offensive when we consider how painful a death it was… It is a travail… a travail of soul… It speaks of childbirth…
He shall see of the travail of his soul…
You must hear the nails pounded into quivering flesh. You must taste the bleakness of it. You must see the darkness envelope the world as the sun is blotted out. You must sense His agony, taste His vinegar, His pain. You must see it – the offence that is the cross – in all of its bright colour, red raw, in all of its pulsating, shocking, heart wrenching, gut wrenching agony… That’s offensive. Yes, it is.
It’s the offence of the cross.
Don’t you see it? See it for what it is? And the vilest thing about all of this this awful sight is that it is YOUR SIN that nailed Him there. It is YOU who hung Him there.
1 Peter 2:24
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
You may ask, Who, me?
Yes YOU… THAT is offensive. Yes it is.
It is you and your sin that is offensive to a holy God. So offensive that He had to bear it, in all its heaviness and heartache. The offense is BECAUSE OF YOU.
You may say, preacher that’s coming on a bit too strong now, that’s way too close and personal, that’s getting a bit close to the bone now. That’s highly offensive to me and my sense of my own self-importance.
We can talk about a cross in abstract terms, and talk about Christ and His claims. But to talk about ME, well, that’s offensive. Really, it’s the most loving thing that we can do – to present to you the crucified man, now risen, alive, and extending love to a world that rejected Him, to tell others of this glorious gospel, this majestic saviour and of His mercy and grace.
I beg you, to see your need of Him. See your need today. The preaching of the cross is offensive. Yes, but YOU MUST BE OFFENDED so that you can see YOU HAVE NEED OF HIM.
I must offend you with talk of hell and damnation and God’s coming wrath against you, so that you can see the grace of God offered freely to you, and seek Him and find Him, today.
Won’t you come to Him today!
The cross speaks of THE HOLY CHARACTER AND THE HOLY JUDGMENT OF GOD. The cross speaks of the holy condemnation of your sin. The cross declares the world guilty before God.
…all the world may become guilty before God.
The cross says you are helpless. It’s offensive. It’s uncomfortable, it’s confronting, like the cross, but it’s true.
The cross says YOU NEED A SAVIOUR. It’s the truth.
The cross shouts out your sin, exposed, laid bare, in all of its ugliness. The mountain of your guilt is laid upon His shoulders. My sin? Yes, your sin.
The cross declares His holy love for you, written in blood.
The cross speaks of the evil of your sin, and of your dire need for atonement.
You’re a sinner.
That’s offensive, preacher.
Yes it is.
It is offensive to a holy God.
And, what’s more, you can do nothing about it.
The good news is that the cross deletes sin from God’s memory banks…
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.