Many Christians proudly display the cross in one form or another.
Some have it permanently inked on their bodies.
Some wear it on their clothing.
Some have bumper stickers on their cars.
Some have accessories, like necklaces, rings, bracelets, etc.
I’m sure if I wasn’t lazy, I could research to find the answer to this next question I’m about to ask.
But, I wonder if the early Christians, under the Roman Empire, wore the cross as proudly as we did today.
I kind of doubt it.
A while back, I wrote a post about how clean, neat and polished many of the crosses that we own are.
To many, the cross is something powerful; a symbol of love, hope, redemption, resurrection, etc.
But, to the early Christians, I like to think that the cross was still something that people did not want to see, especially proudly displayed by others.
It was another symbol of their oppression and of torture.
Maybe some of us forget that the cross was a instrument of persecution and death.
The cross was used to instill fear in the hearts of people.
The cross was a reminder to the people, if you rebel this is your fate.
If Jesus came to the United States within this decade or so, think about what the people would proudly display 2000 years from now.
They’d have tattoos of the electric chair.
Or they’d have necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings with a needle from the lethal injection Jesus would’ve received for his death penalty.
(…. or shirts that proudly display the act of, or instruments involved in, water boarding…)
If someone proudly displayed the electric chair or tools used for lethal injections (or water boarding) today, the normal ones of our society would be a bit shocked and horrified.
“Why would they promote such a violent image?”
“What is wrong with that person?”
“Has the person no morals?”
But it is only through the power and grace of God that an instrument that was used solely for death, punishment and torture now stands for life, a new beginning, redemption, reconciliation and… hope.
I don’t really think about what the cross actually symbolized and meant for the people of Jesus’ time. Only because in my office and home, I have nice, polished, neat crosses that can’t help but remind me of hope. I think I need to go find me a rugged cross..
But that instrument that once stood for death, now stands for life.
Oh, how He loves us!