Contend Earnestly: The Symbolism of the Cross

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Symbolism of the Cross

I had written a post about a former student of mine doing a speech in her English class, in a public school, on the cross. I thought I would go ahead and post her speech here so all could read. It is very interesting to see how a 16 year old stands for the understanding of the cross. It is nice to see that my teaching has impacted someone so greatly that they still write and keep me informed of what is going on with their witness. It is truly good to see God's grace work in her life. I have given her some ideas as well for further speeches and also challenged her to open up lines of communication with those in her class to seek further conversation on the cross.

Cross Symbolism

For many people, when they see just another religious symbol, they could care less what it means or symbolizes. Especially if it is of another religion other than their own, or if they don’t even put themselves in a “religious category.” I want you in this moment to clear your mind of all previous knowledge and just listen to what the Christian cross means.

Jesus was born to a young peasant woman in the area we know as present day Israel 2000 years ago. We, as a civilization, revolve our history using time that was divided by his birth. Do B.C. and A.D. sound familiar? They stand for “before Christ” and “Anno Domini,” meaning the year of our Lord.

Until he was thirty, Jesus lived a traditional Jewish life, working as a carpenter. During this time, the whole area was under Roman dictatorship ruled by Caesar, including Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, and Nazareth, where he was raised.

In his thirties, Jesus began his public teaching and display of recorded miracles, but always stayed fairly close to home. Over a three-year period, despite trying to keep a low profile, Jesus' acts and teachings spread nation wide. The Roman government took notice to this person who spoke such nonsense. God offers love and forgiveness? That you are actually worth something and can have hope? What was this nonsense? They took him in and sentenced him to death. He was beaten, whipped and mocked, then forced to carry his own wooden cross to a hill outside of the city walls. They hammered nails through his wrists and feet. Scholars say he slowly suffocated to death. Do you hate the feeling you get when you can’t hold your breath anymore? How about having that feeling for hours on top of having most of you skin shredded from the beatings beforehand? A word actually had to be invented because there was no other word in existence for the pain Jesus felt. The word ‘excruciating’ literally means, 'out of the cross'.

Seth McBee, a former youth pastor of mine, told me what the cross symbolizes to him. “The cross represents both the most tragic and yet most triumphant event in the history of our sinned stained world.” This crucifixion was the most tragic because it shows how severe out sinful hearts are. The only choice God had was to send his only Son to die in the most brutal way in existence. This event is also the most joyous though, because we were brought back into fellowship with our Creator and now can have our past wiped clean and can start again with a new slate. Without this brutal murder of God’s Son, we would still be lost and hopeless. But with a simple prayer and admittance that we are leagues away from forgiveness without God, there will be hope for everyone. All because of a cross. Seth says, “We, as Christians, see a triumphal victory where the war has been won and the Commander and Victor calls out to all, “Come you who are weary and find rest for your soul.”


Brad Walker said...

that was awesome. i'm sure the transcript does not do her presentation justice!

Anonymous said...

Yeah girl, yeah! Right Seth, right!

To Him we ascribe all the Glory!

I know, I know, I was preaching to the choir!

Thanks for sharing that! Let's see the main street media pick that up and argue for overturning Roe v. Wade?

Not in a thousand years! That girl's husband should do some wonderful things by her!

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