Studying about Islam can surprise you as a Christian. This is because the words “Believe in Jesus” appear in their scripture, the Quran. Not only this, but a lot of the Qur’an is devoted to explaining Jesus. The Quran records that Jesus was born from the womb of the virgin Mary, and also teaches that Jesus came to this earth to preach the gospel and that we must believe the gospel. It is also recorded as a fact that he was raised from the dead, healed the sick, and performed amazing miracles. It also records the ascension of Jesus and the return of Jesus.
However, there is one crucial difference. It is the cross. The Quran doesn’t simply omit or ignore the cross of Jesus. It actively teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross (Quran 3:55). It is recorded that after escaping death on the cross, he went to a place where a spring flows (Quran 23:50). So Islam portrays Jesus not as a savior but as one of the great prophets sent by Allah. More aggressively, they antagonize and attack Christianity, claiming that Christianity teaches Jesus incorrectly.
Dear fellow believers, a Jesus without the cross is not the true Jesus. Christianity without the cross is not Christianity. No matter how much you believe in the miracles of Jesus, follow the words of Jesus, and even believe in Jesus’ virgin birth and ascension to heaven, if Jesus died on the cross is missing, that is not Christianity.
So what matters is not how long you have lived a life of faith. It doesn’t matter how much Bible knowledge we have. The only important thing is, “Do we know the cross? And have we experienced the cross?”. There is no salvation without the cross. That is why it is impossible to experience the true power of salvation without personally experiencing the cross.
The Corinthian church is a church that has experienced a lot of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, they quarrel with each other and are divided into Cephas and Paul factions. That is why Paul is preaching the gospel of the cross again. When you don’t experience the cross, you have no choice but to stay with the faith of a child.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.
1Co 1:18 The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.
The Jews expected the Messiah to lead a military and be politically powerful like King David. To a Jew who thought like this, a person who died on the cross is a failure. To the Jews, it was unimaginable that the Messiah would die on a cross.
From the point of view of the Romans, the idea of a crucified Messiah was complete nonsense. It is said that crucifixion was so cruel and painful that it was extremely rare for Roman citizens to be crucified. Someone who died on the cross had to be absolutely despised by the Romans, considered human scum, the lowest person.
Also, at that time, the Greeks pursued rational and philosophical wisdom, so the concept that God wanted to save the world in a barbaric way such as crucifixion was not understood by the Greeks.
The idea of a crucified Messiah was an abomination to Jews, Romans and Greeks alike.
Likewise, today is the era of pursuing the strong, the good, and the beautiful. It is an era of avoiding suffering and pain and pursuing pleasure. Therefore, to people of this age, the cross looks utterly foolish and insignificant. A symbol of weakness, a symbol of pain and horror, the cross cannot be an attractive subject for people today. However, the Bible clearly declares, “For those who are being saved, the word of the cross is the power of God.” What does the cross mean to you?
The cross is the power of salvation.
Why is the cross powerful? Because the only way to solve the problem of sin is through the cross. We know very well that sin is the cause of all the tragedies and suffering in our lives. Because of sin, death came, because of sin, families are broken up, all painful and tragic things happen, and because of sin, humans become slaves to the devil. You will go to hell because of your sins. Because of sin, we do not know who we are, where we come from, and where we are going because we don’t know the meaning of life. In this way, sin is the fundamental problem of human beings.
However, as God had already prophesied in Genesis 3, Jesus, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born to Mary, a virgin, and became the descendant of a woman, not a descendant of a man, would crush Satan’s head, and Satan would bruise Jesus’ heel, just like the Word said. Through the cross of Jesus, God solved the problem of sin, the fundamental problem of human beings.
Because God is a God of justice, He could not forgive sins unconditionally. Because he is at the same time a God of love, he wanted to forgive our sins no matter what, so in the Old Testament, he had animals shed blood to die instead. When the time came, the sinless Jesus came to this earth, completed all the Old Testament sacrifices, and shed His blood to offer Himself as an eternal sacrifice. This is the mystery, grace, and blessing of the cross. It is no longer necessary to shed the blood of an animal for the forgiveness of sins. When Jesus died on the cross, saying that it was finished and shedding his blood, our past, present, and future sins were all forgiven. Therefore, if we now believe in the blood of Jesus, not through keeping the law or doing good works, we will receive forgiveness of sins and establish a right relationship with God.
Believe that you have received the forgiveness of sins by believing in the blood of the cross and that you are a child of God.
Believe that you can overcome the devil and the world only by believing in the blood of the cross, and live a victorious life like a child.
Believe that you will live as people of the eternal kingdom of God by believing in the word of the cross.
How to personally experience the power of the cross. Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, so I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Now I live in the flesh by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Today, I will share the way to experience the power of the cross. The way to experience the power of the cross and the glory of God at the same time is to experience Galatians 2:20.
The apostle Paul confessed that he was crucified with Christ. “I” here refers to one who has fallen and has a sinful nature. Paul is proclaiming that “I” with the fallen sinful nature was crucified with Jesus on the cross. Paul confesses that now I do not live in me, but Jesus lives as the owner of my heart and life. Salvation was restored as Jesus ruled my heart and all areas of my life as King. The essence of salvation is the restoration of God’s kingdom, to recover the reign of God. Is Jesus King and Master in all areas of my heart, emotions, knowledge, family, business, study, and life? If so, we are living a life of salvation.
We are all going through a very difficult time. Our life is one that feels like the wilderness. There are so many heavy burdens and worries in life. But we must leave this burden to the Lord. I must confess that Jesus is the Lord of my life and leave it to the Lord. I must die to confess that Jesus is the Lord. I have to let go of all that I’m holding on to. I must experience the cross. Then Jesus is the one who lives in me, and not myself. At that time, we will experience the full reign and governing of the Holy Spirit and His Word. This is the life of complete salvation. If I entrust all areas of my life to the Lord, the flesh cannot rule over me. Worry and anxiety can’t control me. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the light of the glory of the Lord within us is revealed.
Stephen in Acts was a man full of the Holy Spirit and grace, and it is said that his face shone like an angel. How can we experience God’s glory in a life that feels like the wilderness? It is time to experience the cross. The glory of the Lord appears only when I die to my flesh.
2Co 3:17 The Lord is the Spirit; where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2Co 3:18 We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
By experiencing the cross every day, I hope that you will experience more of the grace of experiencing the glory of God within you every day during Passion Week.
The way to experience the glory of the cross.
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
The purpose of our lives is to glorify God. So when we fulfill God’s will for us, we give glory to God. And in order to fulfill God’s will, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord. My cross is the price and sacrifice I have to pay to fulfill God’s will for me.
Peter had an image of the Messiah that he expected. He was expecting a Messiah like King David, who would have power and might. However, when Jesus said he was going to die, it seemed impossible to Peter, so he strongly told Jesus that He would not die. But, Jesus said, “You do not think of God’s things, but men’s things. Deny your own thoughts and take up your cross and follow Me.” In other words, the Lord says to throw away human and worldly thoughts, take up your cross, and follow Jesus in order to accomplish God’s work and God’s will.
What is the cross? The cross is not only the price and sacrifice we have to pay to achieve God’s will, but also giving up our rights and our precious possessions in order to save others. The cross is love. The cross is why I should give and serve my precious belongings for the sake of others. In order to bear the cross, Jesus had to give up being God. Jesus had to leave the glory of heaven and come to this earth as a man. Likewise, in order to bear the cross, we must give up our rights, the right and freedom to do whatever we please. What was the motive and reason Jesus bore the cross? It was to give up his own life and save us. Jesus gave his own life and saved me. The cross is giving the most precious thing to save others.
The cross is the ultimate expression of love. The cross is self-denying and self-renunciation.
In this way, my cross is the price and sacrifice I have to pay in order to accomplish God’s will through me.
Therefore, carrying the cross is never easy.
Who would give up their precious money, time or even life for someone else?
But the Lord clearly speaks to his disciples.
Joh 12:23 Jesus answered and said, The hour has come when the Son of Man shall be glorified.
Joh 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Joh 12:25 Whoever loves his life will lose it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
The glory of the Son of Man means the death of Jesus on the cross.
And unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it, and whoever hates his life in this world and who sacrifices it will keep it for eternal life.
In this way, Jesus speaks of the power and glory of the cross. Therefore, today we, the disciples of Jesus, must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord with joy.
In order to achieve salvation on the cross, Jesus gave up being God, became a human being, and became obedient even to the point of death on the cross. As a result, how did Jesus glorify his Father?
God highly exalted Jesus and gave him a name that is above every name.
God made every knee bow at the name of Jesus,
God made every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We all need to know that we cannot glorify God without the cross.
The story of missionary Jim Elliot.
Jim Elliot was a talented graduate of the prestigious Wheaton College in Chicago. He volunteered as a missionary to the Amazon basin in Ecuador, South America. On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, along with four of his companions, entered the home of the most notorious and inaccessible Auca tribe. Shortly after entering there, he was martyred after being stabbed with a spear. All of the friends who had gone in were also murdered and found abandoned in the river. When promising talented people lost their lives without being able to preach the gospel in the mission field, Chicago newspapers at the time wrote an article criticizing missions with the title, “How much unnecessary waste?” Then his wife, Elizabeth, said: “Please refrain from talking. Is it a waste? My husband’s death was not a waste. He has been preparing for this his whole life. He is a man who has been living for this very hour. He is a happy man who has fulfilled his God-given responsibilities, met his life goals, and died.”
These words of Elizabeth are corroborated by a prayer from Jim Elliot’s diary written during her college years.
Here are some of his writings in his diary.
“I pray to God. Light this useless piece of wood on fire.”
“Let it burn for the sake of the Lord. Lord, my life is Yours.”
“I don’t want to live long. Just like the Lord, let me live an abundant life.”
Elizabeth was trained in nursing and after a year she went right into her au ca tribe. Fortunately, the Aucas were a tribe that only killed men. She lived there for 5 years. When leaving the tribe after five years, the chief of her Auka tribe asked her: “Who are you?” “I am the wife of the man you killed five years ago. I am here again to give you the love that my husband had for you.” Decades later, hundreds of churches sprung up in the village, and the senior pastor of the village church where Jim Elliott died was Jim Elliot’s son. Even more surprising is that the people who serve as elders and teachers in that church are the same people who killed Jim Elliott and his friends.
The impact of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot’s party did not end there. At that time, it caused a great repercussion by awakening secularized American college students. The martyrdom of missionary Jim Elliott and his party was not a vain death, but a holy death and a cross that brought glory to God when they became small grains of wheat.
We may not be martyrs like Missionary Jim Elliott, but we are all already on the way of the cross through our service and love. Our children are growing up healthily thanks to your service and love as parents. Through the prayers and loving service of the shepherds, members of the House Church are receiving grace and being transformed. With the service and love of the teachers, the future children of the church are growing into people of God. To clean this large church building every week, several members took time to volunteer and sweat so that we could all worship God in a clean and pleasant way. You are already serving your family and serving the church by giving up and sacrificing your precious things. That’s right. Please remember that we can give glory to God through the cross like this in celebration of the Passion Week. This Passion Week, I bless you in the name of the Lord that we all may experience the power of the cross that gives salvation every day, and that we will glorify God by carrying our cross with joy.