What is the significance of the cross? Is it a sign of victory or a sign of paganism? “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Cor. 1:18) and it “might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”(Ephesians 2:16) Thanks!
Cross – a tool of torture
If you talk about the significance of the cross, the Bible says very clearly that this was a tool of torture on which criminals were executed and on which Lord Jesus was sacrificed:
The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they called together the whole Roman cohort. They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him. They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross. Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take. It was the third hour when they crucified Him. The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.”] Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him. When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” which is translated, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:16-39)(NASB)
Cross – the symbol of the redeeming sacrifice and victory
Because Lord Jesus was brought as a sacrifice by crucifixion on the cross, the word “cross” has become a very great significance to Christians and has become synonymous with “the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.” Here are some New Testament passages which show the significance of the cross and how the word “cross” is used
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ (atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ) would not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:17)(NASB)
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross (atoning sacrifice) of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)(NASB)
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross (atoning sacrifice), by it having put to death the enmity.
Cross is not a pagan symbol
Although it is found in the symbolism of many religions, for Christians the significance of the cross is connected with one of the most important events – the crucifixion of Lord Jesus. We can not say that Christians took the significance of the cross from other religions. It is true that some denominations refuse to use the cross symbol and even preach against the use of this symbol because it can not be honored the tool of execution of the Lord Jesus. It is their choice but it does not change the truth about the significance of the cross.
Many have lost the meaning of the cross
Some people show themselves as great followers of the cross and pretend to be good Christians, but apparently they do not have anything to do with the sacrifice of Christ. Thus, they bear the cross at the neck, they cross themselves, put it in their house, on graves, etc. but they do not know the significance of the cross and the saving power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Why do these people need the cross? What is the significance of the cross in your life?
Translated by Felicia Rotaru