The Holy Cross
We must ask why? Why is the Crucifix the most Holy of all Christian symbols? That which is spoken from the pulpit will be different in nearly every persuasion, but the one constant, which is always present, is that huge cross somewhere at the front of the Church. It's also on the pews, on the Bibles, on the priestly robes, on the doors, even towering above all at the top of the steeple. We hang them on our walls, from our rear view mirrors, around our necks and in the end we plant them above our graves.
The crucifix to most Christians is as holy as the Bible itself. So holy, that it by itself supposedly can cast out demons and even ward off a vampire if need be. The only other symbol that even comes close to the cross in prestige is that fish like thing which we see so often on trunk lids. Then occasionally one can find a dove painted on a license plate but the cross is by far the most common. Seems we must have our symbols. Perhaps it would be wise to consider this symbolism of the Cross more closely.
Perhaps the first question that should be asked is "Why the Cross?" Most will say that it acknowledges the tremendous sacrifice our Lord made for our salvation. It reminds them how much He suffered, acknowledging that whatever our sacrifice, it is little to pay in comparison. That is not a bad reason, which is why it is so often given. But let us digress for a moment and go to our Bibles and see what Yeshua (Jesus) thought of the Cross.Shortly before His capture in the Garden of Gethsemane, scripture tells us in MATTHEW 26:37-38 that Yeshua told Peter and the two sons of Zebedee that He was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death". I believe there has never lived a man that can comprehend the tremendous torment Yeshua was struggling with. The approaching hours were so intense for Him, Luke writes that "being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground".
It is written that He prayed more earnestly, because He had already prayed once that He would not be required to endure what GOD was now showing Him the next forty hours held. He evidently was beginning to be aware of all that the Devil was planning to do to Him, and as committed as He was, more committed then any man who had ever lived, He didn't want to go through with it. Sacrilegious you think my words are? I'm just quoting the Book, which GOD preserved so that the world could have an idea of what really happened to HIS Son.
MARK 14:35-36 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
I agree that His sufferings are a pretty horrible subject, which saddens all who truly love their Lord. Yet if GOD thought it was important enough so as to be included in all three synoptic Gospels, HE must evidently desire us to understand it. There is actually more written in GOD's Word about these few hours, then any other comparable event in the history of mankind.
Throughout the times recorded in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) GOD energized certain men in various ways so that each had his own particular long suit or strong point. As Abraham was faithful and Solomon was wise, so also was Yeshua faithful and wise. He possessed all of the traits combined that each of these Old Testament witnesses displayed.
During this torturous ordeal, to endure this cup, I believe that Yeshua required the strength of Samson, for without that strength He would have died long before He ever reached the Cross. Evidently His appearance or visage was marred more then any man! How do you suppose it got so marred? The enemy's seed had forty hours to work on Him, and no other man could have survived such prolonged and savage beating.
He did not endure this abuse solely for His own gain. He did it for others; some of who were the very ones that hid their faces from Him. Others, seeking to torment Him were sneering, "He saved others, but Himself He can not save". No one would want to go through this, not even the author and finisher of faith, not even the "man of sorrows". But He did it because there was no other way to accomplish GOD's plan of redemption for mankind, "for the transgression of my people, was he stricken".
The idea that the greatest lover, would be so hated; that He who healed so many would be hurt so horribly; that He who was life, would be cut off from the living; that is what the holy cross meant to Yeshua. You think He liked it? You think He enjoys remembering what it was like to hang there being guiltless, yet being scorned by the unbelievers and ignored by His executioners? You think that when we meet Him face to face He will delight in seeing a symbol of that horrible instrument of torture and death hanging around our necks? I think not!
It probably wasn't even a Cross He was nailed to. It was most likely a straight pole with a notch cut out for His feet. They would nail His hands above His battered head and then nail His ankles to the notch. They had a hole bored in the ground for the pole to slip into as they raised it with ropes. When it found its hole it would drop several feet before becoming secure. This jolt would of course have a ripping effect wherever the flesh had been nailed to the tree. For nearly forty hours previous to this He had been handled ruthlessly, so violently during His beatings that the flesh from His back had probably been nearly ripped off.
Despite all this, He still had the presence of mind to minister to the thief on His one side and then just before His death to ask forgiveness from GOD for all those Romans soldiers who had performed the actual crucifixion.
It baffles me how an individual can say that they love Yeshua so much yet decorate themselves, their houses or their automobiles with the instrument of His final torture. That appears to me to be nothing short of sick!
Consider this. Picture you and your loved one seated in your living room when in burst some home invaders. As they threaten your loved one, you plead for them to take you instead. You don't want to go with them, but if it will save your loved one you will make the sacrifice. So you they take and beat and abuse you beyond description, leaving you to die in a pool of your own blood, stripped to your underwear and perhaps nothing else. The police arrive and take their usual crime scene photos.
How would you then feel if someday you came back and saw those despicable photos framed and hanging all around your loved ones house? How would you feel if your loved one said that they did it to remind them of the sacrifice you made for them that awful night? Would you feel loved by that one or would you think they had a screw loose?
I believe that the crucifix is the sickest joke that could be played on Christianity. The crucifixion is not what Yeshua wanted to do but what He didn't want to do. Nor is it what GOD did, but rather what the Devil did to HIS only begotten Son.
The Roman Catholics amaze me most, for they are not content with an empty Cross. They have to take our Lord and show ghastly details of His tortured body. From the thorns in His scalp and the nail in His limbs to the blood dripping from His side. It is amazing when you stop and think about it.
I doubt very much that there is even one person today who dreamed up this idea on his own; that they should somewhere display the symbol of the Cross. I just can't imagine that a believer was reading those records of Yeshua's capture, torture and death and all of the sudden said to himself, "Gee, I ought to get me one of those Crosses and start hanging it around my neck".
No, we do it because that is the way we were led. Somewhere along the way we accepted this awful symbol as a thing to be desired and displayed. Somewhere, somehow the enemy got us to wander along with the herd, where sadly most remain their entire lives.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.