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“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me’.” (Matthew 16:24 NLT)

So what are the 4 Stigmas of the Cross?

1. The first stigma is “embarrassment” or “FOOLISHNESS”:

The cross of Jesus is to mankind’s understanding a “cross of foolishness”.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

“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. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate’.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)

“Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

So what does that mean for us?

We can expect to be misunderstood as well. Some people will even think we are crazy for following Jesus and believing the teachings of the Bible.


2. The second stigma is being MISUNDERSTOOD:

Jesus was often misunderstood. For example the Jews were looking for a Messiah that was going to be a political and military leader.

His disciples often misunderstood Him, for example: The transfiguration, the disciples misunderstood His mission, and His impending death.

His teachings were also often misunderstood: “On hearing it, many of His disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60)

Jesus taught on liberty, love, power, and authority.

These were often misunderstood and men tried, and still try, to turn them into bondage, laws, rules, regulations and legalism. Even today these things happen in many Churches.

So what does that mean for us?

We also can expect to be misunderstood.

We can expect others to try and bind us up in their legalistic ways, with the rules and regulations and thinking of man instead of the freedom of Jesus Christ and the liberty of the Holy Spirit.


3. The third stigma of the cross is REJECTION:

When the teachings of Jesus seemed to hard and demanded self-sacrifice the Bible tells us that many disciples and followers/hangers on, rejected and abandoned Him.

“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” ……….. From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” (John 6:60-66 NIV)

Then the 12 of Jesus closest disciples rejected Jesus:

Judas betrayed Him. All His other followers including the other 11 Apostles abandoned Him during His trial and crucifixion.

God’s chosen people, the Jews rejected Him:

His trial – releasing Barabbas instead of Jesus even though “no fault” had been found with Jesus (Luke 23:4). They crucified an innocent Man.

So what does that mean for us?

Today people are still rejecting Jesus.

Some Christians or followers or hangers on will fall away.

Some Christians reject the Bible as being the whole “Word of God” inspired and written by the Holy Spirit from the first page to the last page.

They don’t subscribe to this teaching or that – whichever teachings doesn’t suit them. Many might say that they accept Jesus teachings and that parts of the Bible are okay.

But forget Paul’s teachings though – to much Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Forget the Old Testament completely – that is being under the law – we don’t subscribe to that – even though Jesus said He didn’t come to nullify the Law but to fulfill it.

The people of the world, non-Christians, also still reject Jesus. They reject His demands upon their life. They reject living in Holiness. They reject anything that doesn’t allow them to compromise when they want to.


4. The fourth stigma of the cross is DEFENSELESSNESS:

Jesus, the mighty powerful Son of God, whom the Bible tells us had the Holy Spirit without limit or measure:

“For the One Whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” (John 3:34 NIV)

Jesus the Almighty had – calmed the sea, walked on water, changed water into real wine, healed the sick, raised the dead, drove out demons, yet He went defenseless like a lamb to the slaughter.

No one spoke up in His defense.

Have absolutely no misunderstanding here – Jesus surrendered Himself – He was not “captured” – He could have fought – He could have easily escaped.

“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied.
‘I am He, Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:4-6 NIV)

“With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:51-53 NIV)

(12 legions = 72,000 angels)

So what does that mean for us?

There will be times where we are falsely or unjustly accused.

There will be times when we are persecuted or rejected. There will be times when we are completely defenseless except for the presence and power of God in our lives.

As Christians we must make sure that we never end up as William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army prophesied will happen to some of the Church where they will preach and/or believe in:

1. Christianity without Christ

2. Salvation without the Blood & the Cross

3. Religion without the Holy Spirit

“In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” (excerpt from ‘In Darkest England and the way out’ William Booth)


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4 responses to “The 4 Stigmas of the Cross”

  1. Don Bob Avatar
    Don Bob

    P O W E R F U L !

    1. admin Avatar

      Indeed. Thanks Don

  2. Don Bob Avatar
    Don Bob

    Led to read that one again.

    This narrative is in need of a “Selah” beneath it!