By Randy Gordon
What does the cross mean to you?
The question is simple enough, but I fear few of us give it much thought. Maybe it’s because we see the cross in so many places. We see it on necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. We see it painted on the sides of train cars. We see it on the roadside after terrible auto accidents. We might even hang it on the wall of our home.
Christians have embraced the cross, but in Jesus’ day, the cross represented capital punishment. In fact, execution on a cross was the Romans’ primary form of capital punishment. It served a dual purpose: it put an end to the life of someone deemed evil and it sent a message to everyone else. It was a horrible, painful way to die, and the Romans leveraged it to deter anyone who would potentially threaten the peace of the Roman world.
For Jesus, the cross meant something very personal and sacrificial . . . and more. The cross meant obedience to his Father and a demonstration of amazing love, unparalleled grace, and unmerited mercy for all of us. It meant recognition of his unique role in our heavenly Father’s plan to provide us with forgiveness that we could not gain on our own. It meant an opportunity that others might have a relationship with our creator and God.
Paul expressed it this way:
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault (Colossians 1:19-22).
I must wrestle with that same question: What does the cross mean to me?
The cross, to me, means that no matter what, God’s got my back . . . and I don’t know how I could live without that promise.
I love that verse 22 says we are brought into God’s presence, holy and blameless, without a single fault.
Because of the cross, no matter what you have done or haven’t done, you are a child of God, and he’s got your back!
Randy Gordon is the schools outreach pastor at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.