Message of the cross
We read in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that the message of the cross is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
18 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.
Planned from the creation of the world
Jesus death on the cross was planned from the creation of the world. One way we see the plan unfolding is in the sacrifice of innocent lambs for the sins of the people of Israel. Jesus in like manner is described as a lamb sacrificed for all mankind.
the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world
This plan came at an indescribable cost, paid for by a loving God, redeeming us, blessing us and giving us a future beyond what we can imagine.
Power to forgive and cleanse from sin
Our sin (the wrong things we do) separate us from God. Jesus paid the penalty and died in our place and it is through the shedding of His blood (His death on the cross) that We are forgiven cleansed from sin. Jesus deals with our guilt.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
7 In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
and so a good verse to memorize is found in 1 John
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Power to overcome the evil one
We read that there is power in the blood to triumph over the evil one
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Take up our own cross
Three gospels record Jesus words calling those who would follow Him to take up their cross daily. Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23.
This does not earn us our salvation which we have received as a free gift through belief in Jesus but it enables us to grow in our faith and be more effective for the purposes of the Kingdom of God. It is a call to deny our self-importance and self-reliance and to depend on God and make Him the central focus of our lives each day.
Jesus gave us the simple ceremony of communion to bring to remembrance the blood shed on the cross for our sins because we have a tendency to forget. Though He was completely innocent, He was falsely accused, traded for a murderer, beaten, a crown of thorns dug into His scalp, nailed to a cross alongside two criminals and took on our sin as He shed His precious blood that we might receive eternal life.
The bread is a symbol of His body and the wine a symbol of His blood.
1 Corinthians 11:23-25
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
What really held Jesus to the cross? His love for us.
Next time you are taking communion, remind yourself that it is a time when we confess our sins to the Lord, forgive others and ideally be reconciled to one another. It is a time when we can quietly worship and give thanks for the His love for us.