Based on Luke 24:13-18, this message examines how the crucifixion represents the supreme moment in human history. Dr. Stanley explains that through the crucifixion of Christ, God judged sin, defeated Satan, and reconciled us to Himself.
THE SUPREME MOMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY
KEY PASSAGE: Luke 24:13-26
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:17 | Ezekiel 18:4 | Ezekiel 18:20 | Matthew 27:46 | John 1:29 | John 12:27-31 | John 19:30 | Acts 2:22-24 | Romans 1:18 | Romans 6:6 | Romans 8:1-3 | 2 Corinthians 5:6 | 2 Corinthians 5:10 | 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 | 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 | Philippians 3:21 | Colossians 2:13-15 | Hebrews 9:22 | 1 Peter 2:21-24 | 1 John 1:9 | Revelation 1:18
If you asked a historian, philosopher, and scientist to identify the supreme moment in history, they’d all have different answers. But from God’s point of view, that moment was the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. As humans we can’t comprehend all that happened at the cross, but God has given us deeper understanding of what transpired in His Word.
After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-26). They’d been in Jerusalem and were aware of Jesus’ death and reported resurrection but were disappointed and confused about these events. Jesus responded, “You foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to come into His glory?” (vv. 25-26). Then He explained to them all that was written about Him in the Old Testament. Jesus was the only one on earth who knew what had happened, and His Word is still explaining it to us today.
God judged sin the day Jesus was crucified.
Because He is holy and righteous, the Lord hates sin. He warned Adam and Eve that they would die if they disobeyed Him (Gen. 2: 17), and He continues to warn us in the scriptures not to rebel against Him because His wrath “is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).
In the Old Testament, God set up a system of animal sacrifices to deal with sin. According to Hebrews 9:22, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” But those sacrifices were insufficient. What was needed was a perfect sacrifice, and that’s what Jesus came to be. When John the Baptist announced Him, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Christ was the only qualified sacrifice because He was perfect. On the cross, God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus was our substitute who bore the guilt and penalty of our sins so we wouldn’t have to. This was all according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. He sacrificed His Son to bear the condemnation we deserved (Acts 2:22). Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).
Christ defeated Satan on the cross.
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus said, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). Even though Satan is still working powerfully in this world today, Jesus won the war against him on our behalf with His death and resurrection.
- The devil cannot condemn us. Jesus Christ paid our sin debt in full. Since we’ve all sinned, we have a certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, but Jesus has canceled it, having nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:13-15). At the cross, God disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Christ.
Satan is a defeated foe even though he still tempts and attacks us. Christ’s victory over him guarantees that none of his accusations against us can stand because the record of our sins has been removed, and we stand in Christ’s righteousness. When we sin and confess, God promises to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). In fact, His blood is continually cleansing us every day of our lives. God will never condemn one of His blood-bought children.
- Satan cannot make us sin. Christ defeated the power of sin in our lives. According to Romans 6:6, “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Satan rules over unbelievers, and they have no power to defeat him, but he can’t make any believer sin. Yes, we sometimes do, but we have God’s supernatural power to resist if we’ll use it.
- Satan cannot take our lives. Jesus alone holds the keys to death (Rev. 1:18). We are held securely by Him, and nothing happens to us apart from His permissive will. Death will eventually come, but God is the one whom the cross demonstrated how wicked he is. He tempted Jesus to come down from the cross and save Himself, yet despite the humiliation, abuse, and suffering, Christ did not revile in return, but quietly endured in obedience to His Father’s will, leaving us an example to follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21-23).
God reconciled us to Himself through Christ.
Reconcile means to bring back together two parties who were formerly estranged. Our sin has alienated us from a holy God, and there is nothing we can do to remedy the situation. But the Lord took the initiative to reconcile us to Himself by sending His Son to satisfy His righteous justice on the cross (2 Cor. 5:17-18). Jesus bore the tidal wave of God’s wrath that we deserved so we wouldn’t have to. He was forsaken so we could be accepted (Matt. 27:46). Right before His death, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Redemption and reconciliation were complete. Through faith in Christ, the enmity is gone, and as God’s beloved children, we’re clothed with the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
- How has your understanding of the events on the cross been enlarged? What will you do in response to this supreme moment in human history?
- In what ways have you believed Satan’s lies and accusations and allowed him power in your life that is not rightfully his?
- The cross of Christ is the only way of salvation. Have you trusted in Jesus for reconciliation and forgiveness, or have you tried to add to His work on the cross to earn your acceptance?