This past weekend, for the services at our church, we had a guest speaker. It is the son of our senior pastor. He has given the messages many times before. This weekend, his message really got me thinking. His premise was “why is the cross the ‘logo’ of the Christian church?”
The cross was an instrument of torture and death. It was a cruel way to die. The Romans used it only on those people that they had conquered and were ruling over. They did not use this death penalty on their own citizens. Whenever I read or hear about how a person died while being crucified, it makes my toes curl and my stomach churn.
So, why do we Christians have crosses on our church steeples? Why do we wear jewelry and clothing with this horrible symbol of death? For first century Jews, the crucifix was a symbol of suppression and death just like for modern-day Jews the swastika is a symbol of suppression and death. No one wants to wear a swastika!
I knew a lady once who refused to wear cross jewelry. She saw it as an instrument of death. It didn’t represent to her the grace and redemption of her Savior. At the time, I was taken aback by what she said because I had never seen the cross that way. I wore cross jewelry because to me it represented the sacrifice of my Savior in order for me to have eternal security.
So, why don’t we use an empty tomb? You know, a nice gold cave hanging from a shiny gold chain. Or, what about a rock? Since a rock was supernaturally rolled away from the tomb. Fancy earrings dangling with a rock on them. Why don’t we put ichthuses (the fish) on top of our steeples? Some churches use the dove as a symbol. It’s a good one. It represents the Holy Spirit. So why doesn’t the Christian church use the dove? That would look nice on the front of a lectern.
No, we use the cross. A horrendous method of suppression, torture, and death.
But, it isn’t because of Christ’s death that the cross is our symbol. It is because He defeated death that we wear crosses and have them proudly displayed on and in our churches.
The cross represented defeat to those first century citizens of Israel, but Christ turned it into Victory.
It represented guilt, but he turned it into Grace.
…..condemnation to Freedom
…..pain to Healing
…..death to Life
That is why I wear cross jewelry and have crosses hanging in my home. Because to me, it isn’t a symbol of torture and death. It is a symbol of Salvation and Redemption made possible by the sacrifice Jesus Christ made so that I can spend eternity with Him. It is a symbol of Life for me. My new life in Him and the life to come when there will be no more pain or suffering, no more disappointments or let-downs, no more tears or sorrow, no more mourning or loss.
I rejoice in the cross, what about you?
Those are my thoughts for today.