What Does the Cross Represent?

Good Friday – the day Christians remember Christ’s work on the cross.

But what, exactly, is that cross? What does it mean? And is it really important?

I see the cross everywhere – in earrings, on necklaces, in children’s craft projects, even as decorations on flip flops and magnets on cars. None of that is bad, necessarily, but I fear that we are so accustomed to  seeing the cross that we have forgotten what it actually represents, what it means. It has become merely a symbol of our faith. But it is so much more than that.

On Good Friday, Jesus was led to his execution. He was sentenced to a death so horrendous that it was reserved only for non-citizens of the Roman Empire. Not even the worst Roman citizen would have to endure this. And he was sentenced for one reason:

Because he claimed to be God.

He wasn’t killed for being a good person, for being a wise teacher, for hanging out with tax collectors and prostitutes. He was killed because the Jewish leaders of his day found his claims to deity to be blasphemous. They did not believe he was the promised Messiah. And they understood – rightly – that that is exactly who he was saying he was.

But Jesus was the Messiah. He was God in the flesh, come to earth. He lived a sinless life, qualifying him to be the only one who could pay the penalty for our sins.

Sins separate us from God. But God loves us, and he doesn’t want us separated from him. And so he sent his son to die the death that we deserve so we can have eternal life with him.

And that is what Jesus did on the cross. He didn’t just suffer excruciating physical pain, he also bore on his body the sins of the world. I can’t even begin to comprehend that.

And he did that for us. Because he loved us so much.

Today is the day we remember that death, that price that our Savior paid for us – for all who believe on him.

So while cross necklaces and magnets and decorations are highly visible this time of year, I want to be careful that I’m not forgetting what it represents, the magnitude of the work done there. The cross is more than a symbol. Because Jesus chose to go to the cross, you and I  have the opportunity to choose Him, to choose eternity with Christ, to choose a life with Christ here on earth.

If you haven’t made that choice, yet, make it right now. Make this a truly Good Friday.

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