Is a crucifix just a symbol without any significance?


My question has been bothering me for a long time. I am new to the path of faith and I need help in understanding some important issues. In my opinion, the crucifix is a symbolic and has no real significance. I think icons and things like them are just a hindrance to true faith. Am I wrong? If I’m wrong, I want to have my eyes opened and be enlightened on the subject.

The crucifix is a cult object that represents Jesus Christ being crucified. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find it written that Christians in the early church wore crucifixes or any other religious objects claiming to obtain certain miraculous powers etc.. When referring to the “cross of Christ” the authors of the books of the Bible refer to Christ’s sacrifice. Thus, the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians in his first epistle to them:

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (I Corinthians 1)

The apostle refers to the cross as the place where the perfect sacrifice to God was offered in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The same truth is explained in Paul’s epistle to the Galatian church.

12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6)

Catholics traditionally wear crucifixes and place them in their homes in order to remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. My wife underwent a complicated operation in a Catholic hospital and I noticed that there were crucifixes in each room as well as in the hallways. Their Christian witness was not limited just to the crucifixes. All the workers were good Christians with a compassionate heart and amazing conduct towards the patients always offering words of encouragement that brought healing the sick. Even the hospital doorman was a great witness. Whenever he passed through the halls and saw my wife suffering after surgery, he stopped and told her encouraging words that brought healing to her soul. Often, the staff would pray with the patients for their healing.

Once, I was in  an Arab country and I noticed that one of my Bible study students would enter the room and expose his crucifix which he wore and then before leaving, he would hide it once again under his shirt. I was curious as to why he was doing this so I asked him. He said he had recently entered the New Covenant with Jesus Christ and that his crucifix was a witness to his conversion but he was afraid to wear it openly in public because if his family ever discovered  that he had converted to Christ then they could kill him on the spot.

Many of the Christians in that country hang a crucifix on the rear view mirror of the car  claiming that it is done as a Christian witness, even though, there have been many instances when religious radicals blew up cars along with the drivers just for having a crucifix hanging on the mirror.

Seeing how the crucifix is viewed in the Muslim countries has made me think of how people use crucifixes in our country. Many times, the people who have them do not have anything to do with Christ, evident by the way that they think and live yet they use the crucifix as a good luck charm and unfortunately, it becomes an obstacle for many leading them away from faith in God instead of toward it.

Speaking of icons, I would like to recommend the following articles on the subject:

Did Luke paint the first icon?

What is the difference between and idol and an icon?

Where do icons come from?

Should we worship the crucifix?

Translation by: Erik Brewer