The Importance of the Cross
Jesus Christ came to this earth, then would go to the cross and die from a terrible torture of crucifixion. This was a central time in the history of man as in all before man was looking forward to his redemption in Christ, and now after this time all look back to this time for their redemption. The death that Jesus had experienced is briefly as follows.
Crucifixion was in used among the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Persians, Assyrians, Scythains, Indians, Germans, and from the earliest times, among the Greeks and Romans. It is not certain if it was known to the ancient Jews but possibly the Jews borrowed it from the Romans. It was unanimously considered the most horrible form of death. Among the Romans, it was used in the case of the vilest criminals.
The crucified person was stripped naked then He was laid upon the implement of torture. His arms were stretched along the cross-beams, and at the centre of each palm, a huge iron nail was placed, and was driven home into the wood. Then through either foot separately, or possibly through both together, as they were placed one over the other, another huge nail tore its way through the quivering flesh. The body was placed in an unnatural position causing pain at the least motion; nails were driven through the hands and feet, which are full of nerves and tendons. Wounds often were long exposed bringing on acute inflammation and gangrene; and their would be a lingering anguish and burning thirst. Then the cross was slowly heaved up and the end fixed firmly in a hole in the ground. The feet were but a little raised above the earth. The victim was in full reach of every hand that might choose to strike.
Death by crucifixion includes dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, publicity of shame, long continued torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds, up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but stopping just short of the point of unconsciousness.
In the 6th century the crucifix image was introduced, and worship to it was sanctioned by the Church of Rome. A symbol or emblem merely at first, it soon began to have the notion of spiritual and the supernatural attached to it. Today the image of Jesus on the Cross hanging on the walls oil stained glass of many Churches. Crosses are worn by some around their necks. The cross the implement of torture and used upon Jesus Christ is a symbol too many of no importance today.
The sign of the cross was well known for its symbolism. It is said for the Egyptians it is said to have been the symbol of divinity and eternal life; and for the Spaniards it was well known as a symbol; by the Mexicans and Peruvians, it signified the four elements, four seasons, or the four points of the compass.
Jesus paid the penalty of the sin of the world through His death on the cross. He literally went through this horrible time of agony; but He did this out of love for us. It is because of His love for us that He willingly gave His own life as a ransom for us. The Bible says in
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Here we see that God the Father gave His Son to us and then we see that in
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
While we are sinners Jesus demonstrates how much He loved us by suffering on the cross for us in order to buy us back. Who would put themselves through this kind of torture and then death for someone who is a sinner.
Scripturally the suffering implied in crucifixion naturally made the cross a symbol of pain, distress and burden-bearing. In the epistles the cross stands for the preaching of the doctrine of the Atonement implying the bond of unity between the Jew and the Gentile, the believer and Christ, and a symbol of sanctification. The cross is the central focus of teaching in the church and without the cross there would be no redemption and point in any teaching at all.
All of life and death for us hinges on the cross
Seven statements made by Jesus Christ while on the cross:
Matthew 27:46 “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
God placed the sins of the world on Jesus and God had to “turn away” from Jesus. As Jesus was feeling that weight of sin, He was experiencing a separation from God for the only time in all of eternity.
Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.
Christ’s prayer in the midst of their mocking Him is an expression of the limitless compassion of divine grace.
Luke 23:43 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.
Jesus assured one of the criminals on the cross that when he died, he would be with Jesus in heaven because this criminal had expressed his faith in Jesus, recognizing Him for who He was.
Luke 23:46 “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit”.
Jesus gives up His soul into the Father’s hands, indicating that He was about to die – and that God had accepted His sacrifice.
John 19:26-27 “Woman, behold your son!” and “Behold your mother!”
Jesus committed His mother’s care into John’s hands and from that hour John took her unto his own home.
John 19:2 “I thirst”.
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy from Psalm 69:21: He prompted the Roman guards to give Him vinegar, which was customary at a crucifixion, thereby fulfilling the prophecy.
John 19:30 “It is finished!”.
Jesus meant the work His Father had given Him to do, to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and obtain eternal salvation for His people, was done. The debt of sin was paid.
According to a Holy and just God, somebody had to pay for the sin debt of every sinner. This price could only be paid by a perfect sinless sacrifice. God's requirement was the reason He had to send His Son for He was the only One worthy and capable of meeting God's standard of a perfect sinless Sacrifice.
The Cross reveals God's righteousness, God's grace, his way of dealing with the sin of mankind and is a fulfillment of God's perect law.
Have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior? God sent His Son to die on the Cross so that you might have eternal life with Him! All of life and death for us hinges on the work done by Jesus Christ on the cross.