Ask anyone about the cross, and you can expect to receive an infinite number of responses. Some see the cross as a charm to put on a gold chain and hang around the neck. Still others see it as a symbol of hatred since here in the southeastern U.S. crosses were burned in the yards of minorities to supposedly keep them in line. Thankfully, the organization responsible for that practice has long since disbanded. What then is the cross? The Apostle Paul had a similar situation in Corinth where he stated:
- For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Those that had never received the savior perceived the cross as a symbol of death but to present it as a symbol of life was in their eyes absolute foolishness. To the religious Jews, the cross was a stumbling block. Their religion required works to be right with God, and to achieve the same result without any works to them was blasphemy. To the educated Greeks, the cross was illogical and against all reason. Therefore, it was foolishness to them. Here is how the Bible states it:
- For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (1 Corinthians 1:21-23)
After the fall in the Garden of Eden, God stated that the seed of the woman would defeat the enemy once and for all. This seed, according to Isaiah, would be called Immanuel, or God with us. This messiah, according to Daniel would die:
- And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
- Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
- And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)
But, how would he die?
- For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. (Psalms 22:16)
Jesus knew he would be hung on a tree (or in this case a cross which was made from a tree) because he would become a curse so we could be set free from it.
- And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. (John 12:32-33)
- And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God😉 that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
- Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)
Now that the curse was gone, he could also take away the law which contributed to the curse.
- And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:13-14)
For these reasons, Paul could say to the church at Corinth,” but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” The cross is not only the instrument used by the Romans to crucify Jesus, but it is also the means by which the curse of sin, death, and the law could be removed by a just and righteous God that loves us so much that he gave us his best. Once these are removed, God can now empower us and refill us with his glory.
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
- And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. (Luke 23:32-33)
What is the cross to you??
Next Page: What Must I Do To Be Saved?