The cross is the world’s best-known symbol. Coca Cola and Nike advertise around the globe but no design is better known then the Cross. Every advertiser wants to come up with some simple drawing, known world wide needing no attending words. That is exactly what God has done using the cross as a representation of all the Lord Jesus did on a lonely hill outside Jerusalem.
Why is the cross so powerful? Because it is a message without words. A statement without sound. A meaning demanding no explanation. It is the simplest and sublimest method of announcement, yet the most complex means of communicating the most profound truths.
The cross is a message from the past of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus. It has a message for the present reminding every believer of
their need to reckon themselves dying with Christ and taking up their own cross. The cross is a message for the future proclaiming for time and eternity
that the work of Christ was adequate. No further work of man or God is necessary for restoration of fellowship with God for all eternity. What a powerful symbol!
Are you wearing a cross? This symbol is spread ubiquitously in our lives. But few comprehend the complex meaning of the cross. For most who see the cross or even wear it, the gold or silver is more important than its message.
CROSS LIFE! Putting these two words together seems a contradiction. Surely the word “CROSS” is more corresponding to death than life. And “LIFE” must not to be put in juxtaposition with “CROSS”. If it were not for Christ we could not put these two words side by side. Paul reminds us “If Christ
be not risen we are of all men most miserable.” If Christ had not been raised from the dead the symbol of the cross would be no more powerful than thousands of symbols, which have been parlayed on the public without the slightest rippling effect. Each dissipates as soon as they are thrown into the sea of man’s recognition. But the cross has endured time and the onslaughts of man to destroy it over the past 2000 years.
The simplest meaning of the cross is of course – death! No other meaning is so obvious. The profoundest meaning of the symbol is the substitutional and identifying nature of that death. Gal 2:20 offers the most succinct summary of its weighty implication. When Christ died I died with Him! This is one of the most unfathomable yet practical aspects of this well-known symbol.
The cross is the exact opposite message of the world, the flesh and the devil. The world offers the advice “Have all you can have” and man responds with greed and covetousness until he knows neither what he has nor why he has it. The flesh expresses its philosophy in the ads of Nike – “Just do it” This well-known ditty flows around the world like the tides of the sea. Man responds with enthusiastic drunkenness considering neither the cost nor the consequences of such self-satisfaction. The devil’s advice is blared out in the simplistic words of the US Army “Be all you can be!” counseling men and women that they can be like god without Jesus Christ. Each of these
messages is diametrically opposed to the message of the cross of sacrifice, loss, pain, suffering and death.
The Purpose of the Cross as a pictogram is to provide a symbolic summary of salvation and sonship to any who will believe the message of the Cross.
Love cries out boldly and clearly to any who will come to the cross for salvation.
The Punishment by the cross is not so much seen in the symbol but the spiritual meaning written on the heavens as God darkened them above the cross. The Father drew a curtain across the sky declaring midnight at midday as Christ bore the punishment for our sins. No one could see the judgment poured out at the cross by God on His perfect Son.
Pardon by the cross is the initial announcement of God. The forgiveness of sins is the first offer of God inviting all men everywhere to repent and accept the cleansing power of the blood. This transaction makes every believer a son of God whom the Lord Himself can and will bring into
glory with culminating pleasure.
The satisfaction of God is proclaimed loud and clear as the cross declares the “Finished Work of Christ.” God, was angry with man for his sins, but demonstrated full propitiation. God demanded this price and was willing to pay the same. The price was paid in the person and suffering of His only
Son. His provision was adequate and with Divine authority made universally available. The product of this glorious provision is nearness and access to God not only as Creator but also as Redeemer. God is satisfied and demonstrated that by the greatest event in the world’s history – The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not only is the cross empty but the grave is empty as well.
The Cross also proclaims with amazing boldness that man has been changed. Reconciliation by the cross is the effect of the work of Christ in mankind in general and specifically. God was not reconciled! It is man that needed to be throughly changed from a position where he could not be saved by any efforts or abilities of his own to making salvation available. This work of God on the cross provided the ingredient whereby any can enjoy fellowship with a previously offended God and also offer acceptable worship by the risen Christ.
The Preaching of the cross is the one remaining responsibility left to man. God has done all and provided all in the work of Christ on the cross. He has made that work available to all through the living Christ and restored to man the privilege to declare the unreachable riches of Christ. This
preaching is to those who are rejecting it a foolish message but to us who are believing: we are enjoying the breadth and length and depth and height of His Love. The divine power for a transformed life.
So the next time you see someone wearing a cross take the opportunity to “preach the message of the cross. “I notice you are wearing a cross?” “Why do you wear a cross?” “What does the cross mean to you?” These questions together with a few others will give you an open door to then say, “May I share with you what the cross means to me?” God will give you wonderful opportunities to explain why we can justifiably put the word CROSS and LIFE side by side. This is the true meaning of Cross Life. The cross is the means by which God has given us His life.