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The Centrality of the Cross

17For Christ did not send me to baptise but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (ESV)

So what’s the big deal about the cross? Why does Paul talk about the word or the message of the cross?
The cross is how we treated God. We must appreciate that. God turned up in our world and we murdered him. Which is a depressing thing to think about – and hardly “good news.”

But more importantly, the cross is something done for us, by God. Jesus entered our world, became like us, identified with us – living with us, eating, sleeping, crying with us. The only substantive difference about Jesus was that he didn’t sin. Not even once. Not even slightly. Yet on the cross, Jesus is not merely the victim of our sin – he took the guilt of it on himself. He suffered the punishment, the penalty we deserved, as our substitute. He bore our sins in his body on the cross. God poured out his anger against sin on Jesus, who willingly took our place. At the same time, Jesus took on death and hell and evil and won; he triumphed over them. He died and rose again to set us from from our addiction to sin. He died and rose again to restore our relationship with the God who made us. He died and rose again in order that we might share in his new life. He died and rose again in order that God would not have to punish us, but could bless us. He died and rose again in order to make us holy, fit for the presence of God. He died and rose again in order that salvation would be his gift to his loved ones, not something that we earn. He was rejected in order that we might be accepted. He was forsaken, separated from God as he suffered our punishment on the cross, in order that we might never be.

He did it in order to display the depth and the wonder of his love towards us.