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Uniting Around the Empty Cross
The transformation of the cross from a form of legal execution to a symbol of hope is at the heart of the Christian message. We now proclaim the “message of the cross.” It is not a message of condemnation and judgement but of love, freedom and joy in the Holy Spirit.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand the cross as a symbol. It made as much sense to me as draping a hangman’s noose above the baptistry or wearing a tiny electric chair emblem on a chain around one’s neck. However, the deeper I dug into all that God accomplished through the cross of Christ my mind was changed.
Ten’s of thousands of people (if not more) died on Roman crosses. Only one, however, changed the world through his death and resurrection. Today we celebrate Jesus rising from the tomb on the third day. Without Easter there would be no victory to be found in the cross. Because of Easter, the cross changes everything.
Now, for believers in Jesus, our past is forgiven and our future is secure. All we have to concern ourselves with is the present. Because of the cross we have power to live the eternal life of Jesus right now. What we do with the life Jesus has given us is our response to his now empty cross.
So let’s wear our cross jewelry and keep our cross symbols in our churches. As Justin Martyr said, let’s look and see the cross images all around us throughout our days. But most of all, may we live lives that have been shaped by the cross of Christ. Lives devoted in love to the one who loved us to the fullest extent possible.