Summary: looking beyond the glamor and decorations to see what the Cross of Christ really represents and mean to us as believers
And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. John 19:14-22 KJV
Crucifixion! Defined by the historian Josephus as the most wretched of deaths, crucifixion was cruel, horrible, barbaric, demeaning and looked on with horror! There was nothing noble about being crucified! There was nothing beautiful about the cross! It was a fiendish device invented by an equally fiendish ingenuity to produce the most excruciating torture and the most exquisite pain in the body and mind of the unfortunate wretch that incurred its wrath!
The world now seeks to glamorize the cross by making it into beautiful pieces of jewelry robbing it completely of its once gruesome reputation. The modern church also seeks to do away with the ugliness of the cross in order not to offend “sensitive” souls and the “finer” sensibilities. There have been so many attempts to exchange all that is gory for just the glory, the horrible for the honorable and the crucifixion for the coronation that in many “Christian” circles the preaching of the cross is literally foolishness.
The words of Christ however, continues to declare very clearly: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24 KJV And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27 KJV
To many in the modern Christian community the offence of the cross has ceased! However the truth of the gospel remains …that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV
To the believer there is something precious about the cross despite it gory, gruesome nature! More accurately the Presence of the Sinless One, the Holy One of God, the Son of God, crucified, dying, bleeding, suffering on the cross has forever redefined this symbolic instrument.
THE CROSS A SYMBOL OF PUNISHMENT BECAME A SYMBOL OF PARDON
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 KJV
Every transgression from Adam to Adam’s last son has been nailed to the cross and we can only claim this privilege when we come to the cross! There is no bypassing the cross to pardon from God! There is no shortcut to be free from transgressions. We must kneel at the cross for Christ will meet us there where His Blood is a cleansing healing stream! And sinners plunged beneath that Blood lose ALL their guilty stains!
THE CROSS A SYMBOL OF TORTURE BECAME A SYMBOL OF RELEASE!
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:20 KJV
Whatever our pain, whatever our problem, whatever we are prisoners to; at the cross we find release, we find freedom, we enjoy liberty; for at the cross we die, and when we die we are no more subjected to a world of pain, sorrow, sickness and suffering! We’re free and if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36 KJV
THE CROSS A SYMBOL OF CRIMINALS BECAME A SYMBOL OF THE CHRIST
Indisputably the crucifixion of Christ on the cross forever changed the way we look at the cross. As criminals running from the consequences of our sins we come face to face with our Christ on the cross taking our place. Instead of us hanging there He takes our place and like the apostle Paul we say But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14 KJV