Read John 19
Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took Jesus. 17 He carried his own cross and went out of the city to a location called The Skull. (In Hebrew this place is called Golgotha.) 18 The soldiers crucified Jesus and two other men there. Jesus was in the middle.
19 Pilate wrote a notice and put it on the cross. The notice read, “Jesus from Nazareth, the king of the Jews.” 20 Many Jews read this notice, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city. The notice was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. – John 19:16-20
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. – Galatians 6:14
Just a few years ago, I was wearing a silver pectoral cross with my Sunday suit. A rather unguarded and somewhat unrefined woman commented that I looked “all pimped out with that large silver cross” around my neck. Ugh.
Too often the cross is mere decoration. We have cross walls. We have cross earrings, cross pendants, cross necklaces and crosses on our golf balls. The sad thing is that they don’t necessarily mean anything today. They are beautiful sometimes to the point of being a fashion statement.
Perhaps if we would decorate our walls with hangman’s nooses or wear little guillotines around our necks we would convey a more accurate picture of what actually happened 2000 years ago when Jesus was put to death by crucifixion.
If we would more fully embrace the theology of the cross we would realize that in suffering and hard times, God’s love is most precious and real. We would be less worried about the outward trappings of our faith and give more attention to ways in which we can serve others. We might be even more humble as we realize Jesus had to die such a cruel death for our sins.
Jesus died on a cross embracing the sins of the world. His death was not beautiful, but it set us free. The cross is an instrument of torture, pain, and death. But through Jesus it has become a tree of life.
Blessed are all those who take refuge at the foot of the cross of Jesus. Let us look to Him who is “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)