Why Is The Cross The Most Important Thing In Human History?

Posted: April 3, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Today, we are going to take a break from our study of the gospel of Luke. I guess if I were a smarter man I would have planned my study of this gospel to hit Luke 22 about right now, but alas, I am not and we are at Luke 16, six chapters away from the events that are celebrated this weekend. Celebrating a death on a cross. Death on a cross was reserved by Romans for those that had broken the law. So, a death on a cross reserved for crimes against Rome is meaningful and celebrated. Why?

This weekend approximately 1,970 years ago is the pivotal moment in human history. This day around 1,970 years ago something truly historical and truly eternal all at the same time happened. This day almost 2 millenia ago a death on a cross in Jerusalem in first century Palestine happened. Today, let’s explore why the death of Jesus is the most important single event in the history of mankind. Why is it important and what does it mean? What does this cross and the man hanging on it mean?

There is so much meaning in the cross. First, to understand the importance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to Christians and the theology that surrounds our beliefs we must revisit the Old Testament (OT) sacrificial system. In OT, God established the sacrificial system for the Jews. There were various sacrifices of animals that were required to be made at the Tabernacle and later in the permanent Temple, but the most important one was the sacrifice of a lamb when sins were committed.

Since God is perfect, holy, sinless, and without flaw, sin cannot exist in His presence. It simply cannot. For those who do not believe, you must grant me this philosophical argument. Perfection and error cannot co-exist together. In the created world, either perfection destroys error or error makes that which is perfect imperfect. However, since God is perfect and has been so eternally. He cannot change his perfect state for He is God. He is complete and without flow and without error and without compare. Therefore, error simply cannot exist in His presence. Therefore, when we sin the first time in our lives (and we all will sin as soon as we can commit one at an early age because of the sin nature that we inherit from Adam, the first man), we become imperfect. We become error. We cannot exist in His presence. No matter how many God deeds we try to do, the mere fact that we commit even one sin in a lifetime creates imperfection in us that prevents us from existing in the presence of God. Basically, in today’s phrasing, we are screwed. We are up crap creek without a paddle. How can we exist with God in eternity if there is any sin at all in us. It is quite simple. We cannot. None of us are without sin. Even the person you consider the most perfect and righteous person has sinned. Even just one sin committed in a lifetime. Just one precludes us from existing in heaven with God for eternity. Depressing thought, huh?

God is not only perfect but He is relational. He wanted there to be a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He created the sacrificial system to help us recognize our sin, repent of it, and be reconciled to Him. God defined for His people that the sacrifice of lambs when brought to the temple we repentant hearts would allow Him to clean away the sin of the offering person. The sacrifice of the lamb representation restoration of the relationship with God. The sacrifice and the repentant heart behind restored. But this sacrificial lamb could not be just any lamb. Exodus 12:5 tells us that God commanded that the lamb umblemished. It must be a spotless lamb. It must be one year old males. Lambs are the most innocent of creatures created by God and a year old male would be about as innocent as they come. An umblemished one would then be almost as perfect as they could come. Lambs typically never to anything to hurt anybody. They are seemingly the most innocent of creatures. Thus, when they were sacrificed, innocent blood was shed for sins committed by the person who brought them to the Tabernacle as sacrifices to atone for sin, as God instructed. The lamb did nothing to deserve this fate, but the lamb’s death reconciled the bearer to God according to God’s requirements laid out in His Word. See the connection to the cross. Remember, God and sin cannot co-exist. God is a just God and judges sin harshly. He hates sin.

For all that the OT sacrificial was, it was not the final solution. It was a temporary solution to a permanent problem. God needed a permanent way to deal with the sin problem. Lambs were almost perfect but not totally perfect. They are created beings and therefore not completely perfect like God is. Therefore, the sacrifices had to be continually repeated. God’s permanent solution to the sacrificial system was breaking into human history and living among us as Jesus, the Son. The whole intent and purpose of Jesus’ life was to live the sinless life that no one or no thing could and then to become a sacrifice. There was no sin in Him since He was God in the flesh. He was perfect. Since He was sinless and not a created being, He was the final solution to the sin problem. His perfect life was on a crash course with the cross. The whole purpose was from the beginning was to go to the cross. To be the sacrificial lamb once and for all. It is not a lamb for a man and man for a lamb, a one on one thing. This sacrifice was to end and complete the sacrificial system. This sacrifice is for all men. It is a one for many sacrifice. Jesus purposeful went to the cross to die, to be a sacrifice for all sins of all men. He completes the sacrifical system. No lambs are required to be continually sacrificed anymore. Jesus finished it with the permanent solution. He who was sinless became sin on the cross and His innocent blood was spilled as a sacrifice. What He came to accomplish, He finished at the cross. It is now complete. It is finished. Task accomplished. He suffered and died as a sacrifice for all sin. He suffered the wrath of God as the final sacrificial lamb. He died for your sins and my sins and the sins of all who have not come to Him as Savior.

This is the meaning of the cross and this is why it is important. If you are sitting there believing that you are good enough. You do enough good deeds to offset your bad deeds. You are kidding yourself to believe that your efforts will get you into heaven. No one is completely righteous. No one. And that is what it takes to get into heaven. Complete righteousness. If you think you can earn it, you make Jesus unnecessary. You make his death on the cross unnecessary. However, the truth is that His death was necessary. We cannot earn our way to heaven because as we discussed earlier, one sin, just one sin causes us to lose the game. It creates imperfection and we cannot exist in the presence of a perfect God in eternity as a result. We need help. We need a covering. We need to have someone else’s perfection given to us. We need a reprieve. That is where the cross stands.

The cross is where Jesus takes your sin on the cross. He takes the penalty for it because that is what God says Jesus was on the cross for. He is the sacrificial lamb that pays for your sin. All you must do is to understand that you need Jesus on the cross doing that for you. All you must do is believe that He died there for you and all your sins past, present and future. All you must do is believe that Jesus died on the cross so that you can be restored to God and exist with Him in eternity. Not on our own merits but on Jesus’ perfection. Without his perfection, we are up crap creek without a paddle. Jesus gives us His perfection by taking our sins to the cross.

THIS IS WHY THE CROSS IS IMPORTANT. THIS IS WHY IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SINGLE EVENT IN HUMAN HISTORY. Without the cross. Therefore is no life. Without the cross we are separated from God. Without the cross, there is no resurrection.

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