There’s a cross on the front of our church building, facing the road. It’s empty. I wear a small gold cross on a chain around my neck. It’s empty. There’s a white yarn cross in the middle of my yarned Bible cover that my mother-in-law made for me. It’s empty, too. They are all as empty as His tomb.
I see a crucifix on some churches, and on gold chains around necks, even on Bible covers. They depict the reality of His crucifixion, His death on a cross thousands of years ago.
Why the cross? Romans looked upon it as the ultimately degrading death for those who opposed them. It removed power, made the victim powerless. To the intellectual Greek, it was illogical to offer a way of life that obviously ended in death. To the Jew, who looked to victory over their enemies, it was the greatest of defeats.
Yet the cross remains a symbol today of glory, power and victory. It is the symbol of fulfilled prophecy. Instead of death, it is the symbol of life. Instead of a man impaled upon it, it displays its emptiness and that of the tomb that followed His crucifixion.
“The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome,” recognized by Edgar Allan Poe and history, is gone. The Jews have returned to their Holy Land (as prophesied) and have rebuilt a land flowing with milk and honey.
Yet, just as Moses lifted up a serpent in the wilderness:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. (Numbers 21:8 KJV)
Even so was the Son of God:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15 KJV)
My Lord was upon the cross for less than a day. He was there to remove sin.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12 KJV)
Even the high priest at the time of His death understood the concept, though neither the man nor the reason for His death:
Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. (John 18:14 KJV)
Paul did understand, and explained:
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28 KJV)
My Lord is alive, in Heaven, no longer on a cross.