The Crucifix (aka the Cross) is gruesome. Those who were sentenced to die on a cross could spend days hanging in torture before the arrival of death. The cross not only punished criminals, it also served as a warning to others desiring to commit a crime. The torture one endured on the cross was so horrid that a specific word was invented to describe it. The English word Excruciating literally means “out of the Cross.” Knowing the cross was such a vile form of death, Why do Christians tote the symbol of the cross?
- The Apostle Paul acknowledged that sharing the cross of Christ with others led to persecution. – Galatians 5:11.
- Paul said that the only thing he wanted to boast in was the cross of Christ of Christ- Galatians 6:14.
- Hebrews 12:2b says the cross was shameful for Jesus.
Why do Christians Cling to the Cross? The answer is because of what the Cross represents.
3 Big Reasons to Glory in the Cross
#1 God is faithful to fulfill his promise
Beginning in Genesis 1-2, God created man to enjoy fellowship with Him for eternity. By Genesis 3, Satan tempts man, Man rejects God, Sins, and runs away from Him. However, in Genesis 3, we also find that God pursues man and promises to reconcile their relationship. God sacrifices a goat and clothes Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21). The sacrifice was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice God would make for mankind. God then gives a promise about this sacrifice he will make. He says He will crush Satan’s head and this promised deliverer will suffer a heel wound (Gen 3:15)
Throughout the Old Testament God continues to share how he plans to reconcile mankind to himself. He tells us in Jeremiah 31:31 that he will give us a new covenant. The common practice to establish a new covenant occurred when a sacrifice was made between two parties. God later shares in Isaiah 53 that this redemption will occur on a cross.
God also created the Temple to symbolize everything Jesus would fulfill. This includes the sacrifices that occurred on the altar and the blood that was applied on the mercy seat. When Jesus walked the earth He said things like, “ I am the Light of the world (John 8:12)” as he stood in the temple pointing to the temple lights. Jesus even Said “I am the way the truth and the life (jn 14:6)”. What is interesting is that the nation of Israel referred to the gate that leads into the Tabernacle Courtyard as “The Way”. “The Truth” is the name of the door into the Holy Place, and in like manner, “the Life,” is the passage into the Most Holy place of God. By calling himself the way the truth and the life Jesus is acknowledging that he is the fulfillment of the Temple and the connection people need to the father.
When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, John proclaimed Jesus as ‘“The Lamb’ who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)”. This was a reflection back to the Passover when Israel would slaughter a lamb for their sins. Jesus is called a Lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7). When an animal was taken to the Temple altar for sacrifice, it wasn’t to shed a few drops of blood. The animal lost its life. The animal sacrifice was a symbol of our need for reconciliation with God because the wage of Sin is Death. Therefore when Jesus became our lamb, it was to demonstrate from Genesis 3 to his death that the point of his life was to die as a sacrifice for our sins (See John 2:2). God was faithful to fulfill his promise to us.
#2 We have been reconciled to God.
Colossians 2:13-14 explains, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
The reason Paul risked His life to proclaim the Cross was because the cross was the means by which Christ made the payment for our sins. By His death we now have life. (Romans 6:10,13,23)
Paul states, ” 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.” (1st Corinthians 1:18). By the grace of God through faith we are reconciled to God.
#3 God can work anything for Good.
This final point is a great reminder for all of us when if we carry a cross. The cross was indeed one of the worst forms of torture to ever exist. Jesus endured more than any man has ever endured. Yet, Jesus overcame the grave through his resurrection. It didn’t matter how much mankind wanted to torture and abuse him… Jesus overcame. Fortunately for us, God has taken the most horrific symbol in all of Human history and turned into a symbol of hope and beauty for those who trust in Him. Looking at the cross it should remind you of a God who loves you beyond what you can conceive. It doesn’t matter how bad of a person you think you are, Jesus gave his life for you. It should remind you of a God who wants to offer you so much more than the dreams of a broken world. It should ultimately remind you that no matter how bad a moment may seem, God has the power to overcome. If God can take a cross and use it for his glory and our benefit, imagine what he can do with the trials of your life as you give it over to him. (John 3:16)
When it comes to the cross, if you believe in Jesus, wear it loud and wear it proud. God loves you. He has given his life for you. He has overcome. He promises that you will overcome in Him. He defeated death.