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Lenten Sermon Series

lenten sermon series finalLENTEN SERMON SERIES


The cross. It’s the symbol that is most associated with Christianity and, in our world, it’s a symbol that seems to be everywhere. We see it on buildings, we wear it as jewelry, and even stick it on our cars. From the simple wooden cross like the ones we have in front of our church to the beautifully crafted ones we display in our homes, the cross is something sacred to Christians.

 

But if we were living in the first century Roman world, people would be shocked and scandalized at our fascination with the cross. For them, the cross was the most horrible form of capital punishment imaginable—a hideous instrument of death reserved for slaves and treasonous revolutionaries. It was such a horrific symbol that people wouldn’t even mention it in polite company, let alone have one in their home or wear it around their neck.

 

And yet, in the midst of that world, the early Christians began to proclaim that the cross was actually a symbol of victory, redemption, and hope for the world. They claimed that the world’s true Messiah and King was a Jewish peasant who had been crucified but had also risen from the dead, ushering in the Kingdom of God. In fact, they said, because of his cross humanity was set free from sin and death.

 

Their Roman and Jewish neighbors both heard this news as scandalous. The apostle Paul, a Jew living and working the Roman world, recognized their confusion. “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,” he wrote to the Corinthian church, “but it is the power of God for those who are being saved…Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, which is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”

 

The cross is still a scandal today in world that is perishing. For Paul and the early Christians, however, the cross was the symbol of salvation and not destruction. Within 300 years, most of the people of the Roman empire would come to believe it, too.

 

Today, most Christians will eagerly speak the truth that “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.” But how exactly does that work? How did the horrific death of a wandering teacher in the backwater of the Roman empire become the most important moment in history? How does the death of Jesus save the world?

 

In this Lenten series, I want to explore the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion and how that death, and Jesus’

resurrection from the dead, become the means of salvation for humanity. We’ll draw from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, from the history of crucifixion in the Roman world, and from great thinkers and

theologians over the centuries to answer the question of how the cross of Christ saves us. When we

understand the message of the cross, we find real hope for the real world.

 

The message of the cross is the most important message ever spoken. Join us during the six Sundays of Lent as we explore that message together.



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