Category Archives: Cross

THE CENTURION

In Mark, only at his death did the Roman centurion who was present at his execution recognize who Jesus was.

In Mark, all men prove incapable of recognizing who Jesus is, even his disciples. The only exceptions are John the Baptist and the Roman centurion at Golgotha, the very man in charge of his execution. Mark has threaded this theme throughout his gospel to make the point – The Messiah cannot be understood apart from his death on Calvary.

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POWER AND WISDOM

The Power and Wisdom of God are revealed in Christ Crucified, not in great miraculous displays or the exercise of political might.

We assume people are drawn to the biblical faith by displays of supernatural power, eloquent speech, ministerial success, and so on. Did not Jesus win the crowds by performing miracles? In fact, most of his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite his healing the sick, exorcising demons, and even calming a horrific storm with only a verbal command.

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HE HUMBLED HIMSELF

“I will give him a portion among the great because he poured out his soul unto death, and with transgressors let himself be numbered”Isaiah 53:12.

Unlike Adam, the “Servant of Yahweh” did not attempt to grasp the “likeness of God.” Instead, he humbled himself and chose obedience, even when that meant his submission to a most shameful death. For this reason, God highly exalted him and made him “Lord” over all things. Exaltation did not precede his death – it followed it.

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LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU

The obedient death of Jesus is the paradigm for Christian service to others, the pattern disciples are summoned to emulatePhilippians 2:5-11.

In Philippians, Paul pointed to Christ’s obedience as the paradigm for proper conduct by his disciples. His submission to a shameful death set the pattern that his followers must emulate to have any hope of becoming like him. And his elevation over all things is the result of his “obedience to death” – Exaltation did not precede his death, it followed it.

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EMBRACING THE CROSS

To be the Messiah means suffering and death, and he summons his disciples to follow the same path Mark 8:31.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he explained exactly what it meant to be the Messiah of Israel, namely, suffering and death, an expectation contrary to popular expectations and those of his disciples. And he also summoned anyone who would become his disciple to take up the cross and follow his self-sacrificial example. And failure to do so would render one an object of shame before the Lord of Glory.

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THE FAITH OF JESUS

According to Paul, men are not set right before God “from the works of the law,” but instead, “from the faith of Jesus Christ.

Having demonstrated that all men have sinned and violated the revealed will of God, both Jews and Gentiles alike, Paul concludes that no one can be set right before God “from the law.” Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their own conscience yet continue to live and even revel in sin.

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