Here’s the introduction for our next series. Christ Crucified begins this Sunday.
Christianity has as its central symbol a most disturbing image. You will not find a dove symbolizing peace or a throne representing power, scales pointing to justice or a rainbow signifying promise.
Instead, you find a cross.
Atop church steeples, adorned in homes, hanging at the end of necklaces, you find a cross. From its earliest days, Christianity has been identified with the cross of Jesus. Christians love the cross.
This is peculiar since the cross was a place of horrible execution. This is akin to venerating an electric chair or seeing as precious a lynching rope. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus called crucifixion “the most wretched of deaths.” Death by crucifixion was so gruesome that it birthed a word to explain it – excruciating – literally meaning “from the cross.” The cross was an instrument of torture and a means of death.
If all this is true, why do Christians cling to the cross? Why is Jesus hanging, suffering, bleeding, suffocating, and dying on the cross their gospel – their good news?
During this Easter season, we are going to consider this question in a variety of ways by reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus die and what happened when He did? What did God accomplish through the cross? Why was Christ crucified? To this, we as a church now turn.
May the Holy Spirit produce in each of us new affection for Jesus over the coming weeks.