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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 3

Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 3

Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 3
Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 3
TOPICS: Easter, Cross

In the last two messages, we have been studying the folly and the power of the cross. The Bible said that those who are perishing, to them the cross is foolishness, it's folly; but to those who are being saved, to them the cross is none other than the power of God, and that's what we'll be talking about today. Because without the cross, there can be no salvation. There can be no relief from guilt and sin. There can be no peace of mind. There can be no eternal life with Jesus in heaven. And today I'm gonna conclude this short series of messages, and we will see how the cross fulfilled, completed, finished God's plan of salvation.

Now I want you please to turn with me to Luke chapter 22, only three verses, three verses, 14, 15, and 16 of Luke 22. Now before I read it, as you're finding it, let me set it in its context. Let me set it up so you can see, when we read it, we'll understand it. Hours before the cross, just mere hours, Jesus was prepared to eat his last Passover with the disciples. And you know the context, you know the story. He told them to go to a certain place and prepare for the Passover. But then he said something of uttermost importance. He said something that is of vital importance; and, yet, so many people, when they read this Scripture, they skim over it, and they miss it, but it's a great source of blessing. I know it's a great blessing to me. At that meal, our Lord Jesus Christ revealed the eternal plan of how the cross is going to be the final, the complete, and the finished work of God's plan of salvation that began in the Garden of Eden.

"When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.'" Here it comes, here it comes. "'For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.'" Now, question: "What is Jesus doing here, what is he doing"? He wanted his disciples and us, don't miss this, he wanted his disciples and us to know the deep meaning of the cross. Before the crucifixion takes place, he wanted to understand that beforehand. He wanted his disciples and us to know the deep roots of the cross before he hangs on it as an instrument of torture. He wanted his disciples and us to comprehend the historic roots of the cross. It wasn't just an arbitrary thing. It was a Persian instrument of torture that was improved by the Romans and perfected by the Romans.

Now the cross was in God's mind before all creation, and he wanted them to know this, and he wanted them to understand that before they get so confused when they see him on that cross. Jesus wanted the disciples and us to understand that Passover was a mere foreshadowing, it's a mere prefiguring of the cross. I want to give you two reasons, just to kind of focus our thoughts, two reasons as to why Jesus said these words: "I have eagerly, or I've been anxious, or I have been longing," other translations said, "I have earnestly desired to have this last Passover with you, this meal with you before I suffer". Think about this, think about this, "before I suffer".

First of all, that's my first reason, it is because on the cross of Christ, the Passover found its complete fulfillment, found its true completion. It's found its true end. Passover found its end on the cross. And the second thing I want to share with you, it's because the cross of Christ, the Passover gave way to Communion. Passover gave way to the Lord's Table, the Lord's Supper, and so many names that people give it. It's the same thing. Don't miss what I'm going to tell you. You see, the first Passover delivered the Israelites from being the slaves of Pharaoh to become the servants of Yahweh. The last Passover, the cross, the cross of Christ, made the servants of the living God, the servants of Yahweh, they become sons and daughters of Yahweh.

The first Passover, the blood of the Lamb was sprinkled on the doorposts of every one of the people of God in Egypt. The last Passover, the cross, the blood of the Lamb can be sprinkled on the hearts of every believer who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ, every repentant sinner. In the first Passover, the angel of death passed by; thus, it's called Passover. He saw the blood on the doorpost, and he passed over that house, and he went through the other houses. He passed over when he saw the sprinkled blood. In the last Passover, the cross of Christ, the angel of death will pass over. He cannot touch those who have washed their lives in the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. In the first Passover, God's people had to offer sacrifices, whether they could afford it or not. Some of them couldn't even afford it, but they went into sacrifice. That's why it's called sacrifice.

But in the last Passover, the cross of Christ, Jesus offered himself to be the sacrifice, which paid the price by his own blood. The first Passover, only the firstborn of the people of God were saved. Oh, but listen, I'm getting ready to shout. In the last Passover, the cross of Christ, everyone who comes to him in repentance and faith will receive eternal life. Jesus said, "I have earnestly, eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, before I suffer". Why? Well, he tells us why. Thank God, I don't have to come up with the answer. "For I tell you that I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled, until it is completed, until it ended in the kingdom of God".

Here's something that always tears me up about this statement. It's personal. Every time I look, I meditate upon the words of our Lord. Think about this. He's always thinking of others, while he himself was going to go through the utter agony that's awaiting for him on the cross; and, yet, he was thinking of preparing the disciples for their time of horror and confusion. It just tears me up. You can think about this for a long time. In fact, you can think about this for the rest of our lives, and you cannot even comprehend it. When you and I sometimes get sick, who do we think of? Me. But not Jesus. He's about to go to the bloody cross. He's about to experience the most indescribable, and it is indescribable, because we will never comprehend it until we get to heaven, spiritual pain of being separated from the Father, as all of the sin, your sin, my sin, laid on his sinless body, to say nothing of that incomprehensible physical pain.

And yet all he can think about was their morale, their feelings, their fears, their discouragement, their confusion, and their anxiety. And that is why he said, "I have been anxious, I've been longing to eat this last Passover with you before I suffer". I know there's thousands of you could testify to this, just as well as I can. In our experience and our walk with the Lord, you can testify of how precious he's been to us. Before any darkness befall us, he gives us enough light to see our way. Before pain comes our way, he provides enough strength to stand. And before fear can fill our hearts, he gives us enough courage to pass through the fire and the flood. Before anxiety permeates our horizon, he gives us his assurance, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you". Before we face any difficulty in life, he says, "I am eager to fellowship with you".

Isn't that amazing, isn't that amazing, congregation? The second reason our Lord Jesus Christ was eager to eat this last Passover with the disciple was to establish this memorial, the Table of the Lord, Communion, Lord's Supper, for time and eternal. Passover ended where the Lord's Supper began. Now, most of you know how, for 2,000 years, some churches have silly kind of, I consider to be silly, but they've confused the Lord's Supper. They've confused it, and Communion, or whatever they call it, that some have treated it superstitiously. I've seen that with my own eyes, a kind of mystical thing. There are others who see it as a priest having the power to literally turn the bread and the wine into the flesh and the blood of the Lord Jesus, the One who's in heaven, sitting on the throne right now, reigning and ruling, not on the Table, but they've relegated the power to the priest. Jesus, who is glorified in heaven, is not on this Table. This is a symbol of his blood and body that was torn for us.

The Apostle Paul said, "We know him after the flesh no more". Others see Communion, especially among evangelicals, I heard this with my ears, some evangelicals said, "Well, it gets in the way". It gets in the way of their preaching. It gets in the way of their church program. Others still practice it in a private setting. It's not supposed to be. This is the Table of the Lord for the body of Christ. The list goes on and on and on. And yet, our precious Lord's purpose in instituting the Last Supper, the last Passover, and the first Communion, is to make the cross eternal, eternal. It's done. It's finished. And that is why Communion always points beyond itself. It points to the cross. Communion points to the cross, away from itself. The cross, the cross. Can you say it with me? Communion was established by our Lord to remind us of the enormity of our sin and the colossal generosity of his grace. Why? To remind us the priceless, priceless blood of Jesus who paid for the forgiveness of our sins, to remind us to be humble and broken before God, not proud and arrogant, to remind us to be grateful and thankful for our salvation.

The power of Communion is the power of the cross that redeemed us. When we understand that this Table points to the cross, our hearts will skip a beat or two when we approach the Lord's Table. Your mind will be flooded with the overwhelming gratitude and thanksgiving for what this Table represents. I'm absolutely convinced in my own mind the disciples have never, never for the rest of their lives celebrated the Lord's Table or Communion without these words ringing in their ears: "I have eagerly desired to have this last Passover with you before I suffer, for I shall not eat it again until it's found its fulfillment and completeness in the kingdom of God". Those words must've rung in their ears every time they celebrated Communion.

Beloved, Jesus said, "I will not participate in this Passover meal again until it finds fulfillment, completeness in the kingdom of God". And we all know how 44 days later, he was ascended into heaven, and the disciples watched with amazement as he ascended back to the Father. And he told us that there in heaven, even now, our Lord Jesus Christ is preparing a Table for us in which we will join. Every believer will be able to participate in that Table. And he's preparing that Table even now. Sooner or later, every believer is going to be participating in that Table. Meanwhile, until that day comes, Jesus wanted all of us, who his followers, through the ages, that when we participate at this Table here on earth, we lift up our eyes and look forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb. We look forward to the day when we celebrate with our Lord Jesus and at his Table in heaven. Every time we participate in the Lord's Table, it should be a reminder of our eternal home and that we order every part of our lives based on that eternal home.

Let me tell you this, as I conclude. During the time of Jesus's earthly ministry, around that first century time, even before that, it was a common legal practice that whenever a person's debt is paid or settled, either somebody paid it or the debtor forgave it, either way, it doesn't matter, but whenever that debt is paid, one way or the other, whenever that debt is forgiven, the creditor would come to the man who owed the money in the past, and he will take a nail and nail the cancelled note on the door, and nailed it, "The debt has been cancelled". The debt has been paid. The reason is obvious, that any passersby could see that the debt, that this man's debt, which has been known to the whole town, has already been paid. And my beloved friends, please listen to me, that's what the cross is all about. It is a constant reminder that the debt, your debt, my debt have been paid in full.

This is a picture that the Apostle Paul has in mind when he focuses on the cross, as he was writing to the Colossians. And he writes to the Colossian believers, saying, that on the cross Christ took the debt of every repentant sinner and nailed it to the cross, having disarmed the principalities and the powers and made as public spectacles of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Now, I don't mind telling you I'm getting ready to shout, because I know what I'm going to say. What that means to me and what it ought to mean to every believer in Jesus Christ is that when past sins and guilt and shame that hampered us have been paid in full of which you've repented, and those sins try to come back into your mind, what do you do? You yell back and say, "Jesus nailed it all to the cross".

The last thing I want to tell you about this power of the cross is this. Jesus said seven things from the cross. One of those words, "It is finished. It is finished". Can you say that? Now, that word is very important to understand, that is in the perfect tense. It's in the perfect tense. Now, you're going to see a guy who flunked grammar gets excited about the perfect tense. I hope you do, too. I hope you do, too, because it means that it has been and forever finished. No one can add or subtract from it. It means that Jesus when deliberately, freely endured the judgment of the cross in our place, that tells us that it is all accomplished.

And when he said that word, the Bible said that the curtain in the temple, the curtain, which is a symbol of separating us, sin that separated us from God was torn from top to bottom. Whoosh, torn. The door is now open to whomsoever would come and ask his forgiveness; because on the cross and on the cross alone, listen to me, on the cross and on the cross alone there is power to the powerless, there is strength to the weak, there is salvation to the repentant, there is hope to the hopeless, and there is peace for the troubled heart. And this power of the cross, if you have never experienced it, you can now. What a great day, Good Friday, that if you've never experienced salvation, eternal life, forgiveness, and peace with God, and peace in God, you can do that today. There is power in the cross. There's power in the blood. There's power in the shed blood of Jesus on that cross.
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