The Cross:  A Necessary Tool--by Kimberly B. Southall

Please note: Each scripture is linked to The Bible Gateway.  Scriptures will open in a separate window in your browser while this window will also remain open.  You can click back and forth between the two windows.  Once you have read all of the scriptures, you can close that window.

Christians everywhere are familiar with the symbol of the cross. We find it on church buildings, on and in hymnals, on articles of clothing, and around necks, wrists, and fingers and numerous other places. And most people, even non-believers, understand that it is representative of Jesus Christ who was crucified on a cross. Yes, the cross is a universal symbol which represents Christ. But is the cross supposed to be an object of our attention and even adoration as the popular hymn The Old Rugged Cross alleges? Exactly what should the cross be to us? The answers are found in the Bible. Following is a brief outline of what my research on the cross (also called the tree in some scriptures) revealed.

  • Pilate had a notice "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" attached to the cross (John 19:19)
  • Jesus was put to death by being nailed to the cross (Acts 2:23)
  • Jesus' mother and other women stood near the cross (John 19:25)
  • Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24)
  • Christ made a public spectacle of the powers and authorities by triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15)
  • Christ canceled the written code by nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14)
  • Paul didn't preach words of human wisdom, lest the cross be emptied of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17)
  • Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by being hung on the tree (Galatians 3:13)
  • Those who wish to live under the law rather than follow Jesus do so in order to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:12)
  • If Paul were still preaching circumcision, the offense of the cross would have been abolished (Galatians 5:11)
  • Paul never wanted to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14)
  • All things are reconciled through Jesus' blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20)
  • The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but is the power of God to those who are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18)
  • We are to fix our eyes on Jesus who endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2)
That's a powerful listing of facts about the cross of Christ, isn't it? I believe the scriptures make it clear that, while the cross was a necessary tool in God's plan of salvation for us, it should not be the focal point of our attention or the object of our adoration. I believe the scripture found in Hebrews 12:2 says it best:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.