Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Written by Pastor Stuppy

February 18, 2015

What do you see when you look at a cross?

If you were to walk into any Christian book store or look into any display case at a jewelry store, the one symbol that you will find every where is the cross. We display crosses on the walls of our homes, our lapels, on jewelry, and on the steeples of the church. They can be found in cemeteries, on car bumpers, on necklaces, just about everywhere.

A non-Christian coming into the United States from a non-Christian country might wonder why there are so many crosses. After all, crosses are instruments of death. In fact, it was one of the cruelest forms of punishment devised by man until many years after the birth of Christ. I've read that the cross was first used as a means of punishment by the Phoenicians and later adopted by the Romans to put to death slaves and the most hardened of criminals.

Death by crucifixion was a slow and cruel way to die. Death by crucifixion was an agonizing process. For in spite of the indescribable pain caused by the wounds and by the unnatural strains and tensions placed on the body - the heart, brain, lungs, and vital organs remained undamaged – at least for awhile. Sometimes death was delayed by as much as 4 days. How awful such a death must have been.

And yet, this cruel instrument of death, is found everywhere we go. It is boldly displayed before all. And yet it when we look at a cross our first reaction is not to be repulsed. We don’t see it as something repulsive. We see at as a symbol of victory.

During the Lenten season which begins on Ash Wednesday, our thoughts are directed to the cross. As believers gather to worship their thoughts turn to the pain and suffering that our Lord and Savior endured for us. The cross serves as a vivid reminder of what our Lord went through for us.

But the agony of the cross was only part of our Lord's suffering. The cross stands as a symbol of the agony Jesus went through as he endured the pain and torments of hell, as he faced the wrath of his Father. This he went through in our place. He was punished in our place. And all of this culminated on the cross.

But the cross stands for something else as well. We see it not only as an instrument of death but of life. For through Jesus' suffering and death, we received the gift of life. The enemies of Jesus, Satan included, may have thought that the cross would bring Jesus' plans to an end later learned that it brought them to fruition.

So we view the cross and the Lenten season with mixed emotions. We see the tragic results of our sins, the pain and suffering of our Lord. But we also see in it the path Jesus took to win the victory over sin, death and the devil.

Take time this Lenten season to review, in God's Word, what Jesus did for you. Come to his house for worship and prepare for the glorious Festival of the Resurrection!