Grace Point…Scandalous Cross

  • Friday, October 21, 2011
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

    Before you will effectively communicate the life-giving message of scandalous grace, you must be actively bearing your cross.

    "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23

    "Of all the systematic killing factories, it was a dilapidated former army barracks near a town in southwest Poland which became the scene of the greatest mass murder in history. The camp complex built at Auschwitz witnessed the deaths of an estimated 1.1 million men, women and children. One million of the dead were Jews."

    If Jesus had said, "…he must take up his Auschwitz chamber daily and follow Me…"

    "During the final stages of World War II, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in a war to date. By executive order, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of "Fat Man" over Nagasaki on August 9. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. The Hiroshima health department estimates that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In a U.S. estimate of the total immediate and short-term cause of death, 15–20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from flash burns, and 50–60% from other injuries, compounded by illness. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians."

    If Jesus had said, "…he must take up his mushroom cloud daily, and follow Me…"

    The clear fall morning skies were suddenly filled with the roar of full-throttle plane engines, the sickening crunch of metal impact and the poignant aroma of airplane-fueled infernos. 3,000 souls left this life and entered eternity.

    If Jesus said, "…he must take up his twisted and collapsed Towers and follow Me..."

    "Crucifixion was used for slaves, pirates and enemies of the state. It was considered a most shameful and disgraceful way to die. In Roman-style crucifixion, the condemned could take up to a few days to die. The dead body was left up for vultures and other birds to consume. The goal of Roman crucifixion was not just to kill the criminal, but also to mutilate and dishonor the body of the condemned. Under ancient Roman penal practice, crucifixion was also a means of exhibiting the criminal's low social status. It was the most dishonorable death imaginable, originally reserved for slaves. The Romans often broke the prisoner's legs to hasten death and usually forbade burial. In ancient tradition, an honorable death required burial; leaving a body on the cross, so as to mutilate it and prevent its burial, was a grave dishonor."

    "The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:2

    Before you will effectively communicate the life-giving message of scandalous grace, you must be actively bearing your cross.

    See you Sunday, Church!

    Pastor Tom


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