Does the Cross Offend You?
When I was in high school, The Passion of the Christ came out. For Christians everywhere, it was a REALLY big deal. A close friend of mine was a Mormon and while I was well aware Mormons are not actually Christians, I also know that they claim to be. So naturally, I presumed she would also be excited about viewing the movie.
“Molly! Are you going to see The Passion of the Christ?”
“Because it’s rated R.”
“But it’s a Christian movie; it’s about Jesus.”
“It’s still rated R.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
Mormons are not allowed to watch rated R movies which is fine, but I naturally presumed they’d make an exception for a historically accurate depiction of a movie about the Man they claim is their Saviour. Apparently, I presumed wrong. Our conversation continued…
“But Molly, the movie isn’t rated R for sex or foul language. Why can’t you see it?”
“It’s rated R for violence.”
Now for me, it wasn’t so much the fact that her Mormon rules prevented her from seeing the movie that got to me, it was the fact that she literally did not want to see the movie! It wasn’t something she even had to struggle with or regret. (And if she did, she certainly didn't show those emotions to me.)
“But it’s only violent because that’s what actually happened to Jesus!”
“I still can’t see it.”
You coulda knocked me over with a feather!
How can a person openly proclaim that they believe in Christ, yet refuse to be moved by the Cross? How could they keep themself from it?
Mormons do acknowledge the crucifixion and resurrection of (a) Jesus. But it seems they brush it under a rug. They acknowledge it when they have to (most often, I presume, when witnessing to real Christians who are young in their faith or those who have been raised in true Christian homes). But they do not dwell on it for any period of time.
In a recent interview, a former Mormon acquaintance of mine stated:
I have found the use of the word “blood” (as in saved by the blood), with reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, too bloody and gross for mainline Mormons to handle, so avoid that word.
While I could see that she was well-intentioned in saying what she did, I do not recommend it. We are saved by the Blood of Jesus and sooner or later, it’s going to have to come up!
And what makes this all worse is that Mormons equate the cowardly and justifiable death of their founder, Joseph Smith, to the death of Christ. They believe Smith also shed his blood for the remission of their sins.
How can they talk about the blood of Joseph with ease and not the Blood of Jesus?
But Molly Mormon, sadly, isn’t alone. There are a lot of Bible-believing Christians who find the Cross of Christ an uncomfortable topic to discuss, much less view. The truth of the matter is the Cross of Christ is an offense to them.
Does the Cross offend you?
Does the Blood offend you?
Seriously, does it?
If it does, then you need to check your dedication to and appreciation of Christ.
I’ve met a lot of people in my life, but not one yet who despises the labour and delivery process their mother went through to bring them into the world. So then how could we find offense in the One Who died so that we could be born into the Spirit of God?
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
I submit that if you are ashamed of the Blood and Cross, then you are ashamed of Christ Himself.
The only thing about Christ’s bloodshed and death that should offend you is the fact that you--just like I--put Him there. Just like Mel Gibson made it a point to hold the nails that were hammered into Christ’s flesh in the film, so we also held the nails and hammered them in. Maybe not literally, but it was our sin that put Him there.
Perhaps we are offended at the thought of the Cross because we know we should have been there instead.
God took OUR place on the Cross so we wouldn’t have to die; He took our curse on Himself so we would no longer have to live under a curse.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)
How can we despise the Cross upon which so much was accomplished for us?
Accomplishments of Christ’s Blood, Cross & Resurrection
We cannot glory in Christ’s resurrection without appreciating His crucifixion.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death… (Philippians 3:10)
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:4-12)
This is what Christ’s beating, crucifixion, and resurrection accomplished for us.
1. Our Forgiveness.
Without the shedding of Christ’s Blood, we have no remission (forgiveness, atonement) of sins. Through the acknowledgement and acceptance of His sacrifice, we are made free.
For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace… (Ephesians 1:7)
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12)
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (I John 2:2)
2. Our Everlasting Life.
When Christ died on the Cross, He purchased our freedom and at the same time, won us everlasting life with Him! Halle(lujah)!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. (I John 2:25)
3. Our New Family Status.
This is a two-fold family status update. First, we are grafted into the family of God. Second, we are grafted into the family of Abraham, the father of our faith.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:14-17)
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)
That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel… (Ephesians 3:6)
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11)
4. Our Personal Relationship with God.
Not only do we become family, but like Abraham who was wise with revelation knowledge beyond his years and his dispensation, we can become His friend. We have personal access to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. No more high priests needed! The Highest of all High Priests is our big brother, Jesus, and we take our rightful place, seated in heavenly places, beside Him as He sits at the right hand of God!
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? ...Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-32, 37-39)
5. Our Physical Healing.
Every wound inflicted on Christ has meaning; every drop of His blood has power. When He received the 40 minus 1 stripes ordered to him by Pilate, He ordered our physical healing. And in a wonderful non-coincidence, there are 39 categories of sickness and disease. We are now able to be healed from them all!
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. (I Peter 2:24)
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases… (Psalm 103:2-3)
And these signs will follow those who believe...they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8)
6. Our Emotional, Mental, Financial & Spiritual Healing.
Jesus did not just win our physical healing by the cat of nine tail’s stripes, but He also won our spiritual, emotional, and mental healing. When He ascended Calvary a.k.a. Golgotha, He confronted the torment that plagues our mind, Satan’s battleground. In fact, Golgotha means the “place of the skull.” But Christ’s deliverance for our mental state didn’t stop there.
On His head, He wore a crown of thorns. The purpose of which was threefold:
The crown was pressed into His head for our mental and emotional (soulish) healing.
The crown of thorns represents the reversal of the initial curse put on man and man’s ability to produce and prosper in the earth. The thorns God cursed the ground for our sake with are now His crown (Genesis 3:17-19).
The thorns pressed not just into His brain, but His mind--His thinking. We now have access to the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). And also have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).
Through the crown of thorns, your mind, emotions, and thought patterns are healed!
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3, see also Luke 4:17-21)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:4-6)
8. Our Protection.
Just as in the Book of Exodus, the blood of the lamb allowed death and harm to “pass over” God’s people (Exodus 12:1-28), so the shed Blood of the Ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus, allows all hurt, harm, and danger to pass over us. The Blood of Jesus is our divine protection from Satan’s power.
8. Our Ability to Demonstrate God’s Resurrection Power on Earth.
The very earth is waiting, no, groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). Christ’s believers had a measure of authority before His death (Luke 9:1, 10:19; Matthew 16:19, 18:18), but that power went to another level when He conquered death, Hell, and the grave! And because of His death, resurrection, and ascension, He was able to send us the “Finger of God,” the Holy Ghost, to help us be witnesses to Christ and the Truth throughout the world.
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (I Corinthians 4:20)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us… (Ephesians 3:20)
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19)
Every curse of every kind brought upon us through sin has been declared illegal through Christ’s sacrifice. All we need do is accept it. None of this is possible without the shed Blood and crucifixion of Christ. Yet if we despise the spilling of Jesus’ Blood and death on the Cross, then we despise our the Man we call our Saviour. And if we despise Him, then we cannot hope to be saved by Him.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (I Corinthians 1:18)
May God help us to love, not despise, the message of the Cross!