The cross is the most widely recognised symbol of Christianity. It is found on the walls and windows of many church buildings, on war memorials and gravestones. People wear it around their necks and even have it tattooed onto their bodies. But what was the cross really all about?
A Son Given
Crucifixion was the most horrific form of torture and execution used by the Romans in the first century AD. Yet no crucifixion was ever as significant as that of Jesus Christ, outside the city of Jerusalem, at a place called Calvary.
The cross is the ultimate proof of God’s love towards a world which has turned it’s back on Him. In order to save the human race from it’s sinful state, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. The cross was central to God’s rescue plan.
The Bible says that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”
God looked on as His own Son was mercilessly beaten, mocked and spat upon, then crowned with thorns and nailed to the cross. The Bible explains that “God demonstrated His love towards us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When we think about the cross, we know for certain that despite our faults and failures, each one of us are the objects of God’s amazing love.
A Substitute Sent
Our own personal sin against God deserves punishment. We must pay the penalty for breaking God’s law. The purpose of the cross was for Jesus Christ to take the punishment and pay the penalty for our sins.
At the cross Jesus acted as a substitute for sinners. The Bible says “He suffered for sins, the innocent, for the guilty.”
The Bible records that for three of the six agonising hours that Jesus suffered on the cross, there was darkness upon the face of the earth. During this time God calculated the full extent of the sins of all the world. He then measured out the corresponding judgement which they deserved. This judgement fell on Jesus during those dark and lonely hours.
Eventually Jesus cried, “It is finished.” The price of sin was fully paid, and the punishment for sin was fully endured.
Three days after Jesus was laid in the grave, God raised Him from the dead. This was proof that God had accepted the price paid on the cross.
A Solution Provided
The Bible summarises these events saying, “Christ died for our sins… and was buried… and rose again the third day… and was seen.”
On the basis that Jesus paid the penalty for our wrongdoings on the cross, God is now able to forgive us and wipe clean our record of sin. In this way, the cross is God’s solution to mankind’s problem of sin.
To personally benefit from this offer of forgiveness we must turn away from our sinful behaviour and trust in the one who died for us, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The cross is a picture of love, hope and forgiveness to all those who accept Jesus Christ as their own, personal Lord and Saviour.