Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Why the Cross?

I have some very pretty crosses. My first Bible from Grandma and Granddad Reeves when I was eight had a gold cross on the zipper that closed it.

I have a beautiful cross with a gold coin at its center (widow’s mite) that my dad bought when he went to Israel several years ago. I love it!

I even made some purse jewelry one day with crosses hanging from it. (Several fell off. I’m kind of hard on that kind of thing.)

But for some reason, I woke up this morning with question on my mind.

Why the cross?

I’m not asking why Jesus went to the cross. I know why.

No human is perfect. We all sin.

Romans 3:23–For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

And no sinful thing or person can be in God’s holy presence.

Romans 6:23 a– For the wages of sin is death

Eternal death. Hell. But Jesus went to the cross and died so that if we accept this gift (freely given) we can live. Eternally. In the presence of God.

Romans 6:23 b (the rest of the verse) But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I don’t understand how the cross became our main Christian icon. To be very honest, the cross was ugly.

 The Passion of the Christ.

This the best depiction I could find that shows what the Cross of Christ really looked like. (Probably.) 

The cross wasn’t just ugly, it was hideous. An instrument of torture. I’ve heard it said that it’s kind of like wearing an electric chair around your neck. (Except an electric chair does the job faster than the cross did.)

From Wikipedia: During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography, as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution and Christians were reluctant to use it.

I don’t blame them!

One of the earliest Christian symbols was the Ichthus, or fish symbol.

Remember the meaning behind it?

ichthus = 2) an iconographic symbol for Christ from the initials in the Greek phrase Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter (Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour, ιχθύς in Greek); or representing Jesus as a fisher of men.

I wonder why we didn’t just stay with that?  

Of course, the cross is to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice as well as His love.

They’re so pretty, they do remind me of the beauty of His love.

But how in the world did we ever start using a cross? Do you know?