During Lent, we are going to be looking at different aspects of the cross so that we can deepen our understanding of what Jesus accomplished on Good Friday. Taking our title from the great hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’, we will spend time considering some of the images the Bible uses to explain what Jesus did on the cross and why it was necessary: sacrifice; justification (which means paying the price); victory; restoration. We will conclude by reflecting on how we should respond to Jesus’ example.
There is a mystery about the cross which we will not get to the bottom of in this life. However, at its heart, the cross is about love: God’s steadfast love for us and how that love wins out. That love is a costly but free gift which invites a response; as Isaac Watts puts it in his hymn:
‘Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.’
Of course, the story does not end with the cross. Jesus’ death is followed by his resurrection and ascension. Reflecting on the cross will enable us to grow in our faith so that we may approach Holy Week with greater awe and may be filled with even more joy and wonder when we declare ‘Christ is Risen’ on Easter morning.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3.16
This is an outline of our sermon series:
3rd March The Wondrous Cross: why was it necessary?
readings: Genesis 3.1-13, 21-24; Romans 3.21-26
In the beginning, we lived in perfect relationship with God but then sin got in the way. The cross is God’s solution to this problem; through it we can live again as children of our loving heavenly Father.
10th March The Wondrous Cross: a perfect sacrifice
readings: Leviticus 16.11-19; Hebrews 9.11-14
In the Old Testament, God provided a way of his people using sacrifices to restore their relationship with him when they sinned. Jesus was the ultimate and final sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
17th March The Wondrous Cross: the price is paid
readings: Micah 7.1-11; Romans 5.12-19
God is entirely holy and just and cannot ignore sin or the damage it causes. On the cross, Jesus paid the price of our sins so that on the Day of Judgement we will not have to.
24th March The Wondrous Cross: death is defeated
readings: 1 Corinthians 15.12-28; Colossians 2.13-15
Jesus defeated the power of sin and death when he died and rose again. We too can enjoy freedom in Christ because sin no longer has control over us and death is no longer the end.
31st March The Wondrous Cross: welcome home
readings: Luke 15.11-24; 1 John 2.28-3.10
As we celebrate Mothering Sunday, we remember that what Jesus did on the cross means we can be part of God’s family. We can have the joy of knowing God in this life and the hope of spending eternity with him in the life to come.
7th April The Wondrous Cross: take up your cross
readings: Mark 8.34-38; 1 Peter 2.21-25
The cross shows us what love looks like and gives us an example of how to live. We are all called to follow Christ’s example of obedience and loving service.