by J. Gerald Harris

The Offense of The Cross
Dr. Gerald Harris
Galatians 5:11-13

This is Palm Sunday. This is the Sunday when we commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into the city of Jerusalem. This week is known in many Christian circles as the week of Christ's passion. This coming Friday is Good Friday when we shall memorialize in our hearts and in our minds the atoning death of Christ upon Calvary's cross. The week will culminate without celebration of the resurrection of our savior next Sunday as we gather for our Easter Sunday worship experiences.

Indeed, there is nothing more central to our faith than the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This morning I want us to focus upon his death, upon that Roman instrument of torture and execution- the cross. Specifically, I want us to think this morning about what Paul referred to as "the offense of the cross."

Many of you have read "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglas. In that book Lloyd Douglas says that the Roman soldier who was in charge of the crucificixion of Jesus was drunk. He was not drunk because he was accustomed to getting that way. In fact, his drinking selfdom went anywhere near the point of drunkenness. But his drunken condition on this particular occasion was due to the insistence of a junior officer serving with him.

Marcellus, according to Douglas, was the officer placed in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus. He had never participated in a crucifixion before. The other officer had. He knew that it was a tough assignment, even for experienced and hardened, calloused officers. But for one who had never even been present when such an order was carried out, it would be difficult indeed.

So the more experienced officer saw to it that Marcellus was drunk; however, Marcellus was not too drunk to know that an innocent man was being crucified. When the last flicker of life had left the bodies of the three figures on the crosses on the lonely hillside, Marcellus returned to his barracks ...

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