How important is the Cross to Christ?
I have heard a lot of banter elevating a Symbol in Christianity. It is a significant symbol because of what it represents, but it’s a symbol none the less. If a symbol is given the same value as what it represents, then the original object losses attention that it (He) should be pulling in. According to Mosaic law, the second commandment on the tablets of stone explicitly states to have no idols or anything in the likeness of God that will be worshipped. This is of course an extreme citation to make in this context, because it is clear what we are referring to when mentioning the cross. But it still puts the cross in a high light. And what is the cross itself?
The Roman empire was successful in its empire creation due to military might. They understood that striking fear into the hearts of individuals would cause them to be more content, and more controllable. Their empire was a extraordinary monument to external government. Christ Jesus came on to the scene of the history of man from the nation and culture of lowly Israel. He seemed to be of little interest — until He started making waves. The Romans didn’t really care until the Jewish leaders starting crying out for external justice from their superiors. The Romans wanted to continue PAX ROMANA (Roman peace), and did what was necessary to produce that end.
The cross then was an object of external demonstration of the power of Rome. It was very influential method of the death sentence. God had given men the ability to man to take another man’s life. So Christians understand that Christ lived in the time of the Romans, but the cross has seemingly “crossed over” in the minds of many into a religion icon that represents life. And in some ways it does. But what (or Who) changed the perception of this object of torture? Christ’s redemption power should not be, in any way, tied to, or inspired by rough wood that was used to bring about death, and a external demonstration of power.
The redemptive power of God is limitless. Tying that power to a man-made tool is limiting in my mind. It also ties our perception of what God can do, in some ways, to what religious tradition says. There are words of history that will never lose their beauty and depth because they are truth, and it resonates within us. The power of Christ goes beyond three days right at the end of his human life! He more then what He appeared! He was God almighty from before the fabrication of the universe, and in Him all things were made. (John 1:3)
I am not suggesting that admiring the cross of Christ is sacrilege, idol worship, or Christian relic worship. I am saying that the power of God is more than one single event in human history, or better yet, in the history of this universe. Alot happened on that day at the turn of the millenium, but it is by no means everything. I very much wish to claim that the original creation of all things competes with, if not even trumps, the restoration of man’s hearts. That redemptive process, was after all, in response to what man had done…