Central to the Christian faith is the cross. The shape of the cross has become a figure of design for some people and for others, it is just a piece of jewelry. For some others, it is like a talisman that they wear about to protect them from danger.
The cross can be seen almost everywhere but many do not know what it signifies.
A little background on the cross; The Cross was used by the Romans as a horrible and shameful instrument of death. It was reserved only for those at the lower levels of society like slaves and servants. So disgraceful was death by the cross that the Romans themselves would declare, “Perish the thought that any Roman die on a cross”.
Why would something so gruesome, terrible and shameful become so important to the Christian faith? We will examine the reason under four main points;
It is the symbol of triumph and victory – If Christ had not gone to the cross, then there would not have been any victory for us. He won the battle over the devil through His sufferings and death on the cross.
When Jesus breathed His last on the cross, the devil and his minions erupted in is celebration. Finally! Mission accomplished! Of all those God sent to the earth, this man was a very difficult nut to crack. No surprises though, Satan knew who Jesus was and this was for him the fight of his life and he won! What a victory! Phew! That was a tough one.The celebration was however short-lived, as we know, Jesus rose again on the third day and the rest is history.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:8)
It symbolizes the purpose of Jesus’ mission - Central to the purpose of Jesus coming into the word was the Cross. Nothing could stand in His way to the cross. As soon as Jesus made the disciples understand who He was, He began to prepare them for what was coming.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Matthew 16:21)
In clear language, Jesus was making them realize that it was going to take the cross to redeem man. He was so focused on His mission that when Peter rebuked Him for telling them his plans for the cross, Jesus responded in a seemingly harsh manner;
Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." 23But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." (Matthew 16:22, 23)
It symbolizes the only way to God - When you look at the shape of the cross, you’ll see that it has just one centre. Everything that flows from each arm of the cross, meet at the centre. At the heart of the cross - the centre, is Jesus.
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."… (John 14: 5 -7)
We often hear people say all religions worship the same God but in the scripture above, Jesus unequivocally states that for us to go to God, we must go through Him.
It symbolizes God's love for man. At the heart of the Christian gospel message is the well known verse; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
I have heard people say that God is a God of love and could never have created hell for men to suffer. It is true that God loves us, it is also true that God did not create hell for man. However, some men will choose to go to hell by turning their backs against God. It is not God's desire that anyone should go to hell but if anyone chooses to go there, not even God can stop them. He already paid the price for our redemption through the cross and there is no other payment for our sin.
"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” ( 1 John 2:2)
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Jesus could have chosen more better ways to die but He chose the most demeaning and shameful way to die because the price of sin demanding the highest cost...and He paid that cost. The next time you see a cross, remember that.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org