What Does the Cross Mean?

Some consider the cross, an instrument of execution, as offensive. So, why has it served historically as an essential symbol of the Christian Church?

Jesus’ death at Calvary is where he made the entire payment for sin and willingly gave up his life to save ours. This was a moment of glory (John 12:23–33). From the cross, he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), which literally means “paid in full.” When Jesus died, the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), demonstrating we now have direct access to God.

While a crucifix (a cross with Jesus’ body) emphasizes Christ’s suffering and death, an empty cross reminds us death could not hold him. Jesus rose from the dead. The cross proclaims Jesus’ payment is sufficient and his work complete.

Sadly, some do not understand the cross. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Since Christians see the cross as a symbol of victory and hope, they display it prominently.

Study the Cross in the Scriptures

John 12:23-33

John 19:30

Matthew 27:51

1 Corinthians 1:18

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