The cross was originally an extremely painful Roman instrument of execution but has now become the most central Christian symbol. In the Old Testament, Israel’s sacrificial system and prophecies point to the Messiah’s death on the cross as the culmination of Jesus’ life. Through his death on the cross, Jesus atoned for our sins, tore down the dividing wall between people and nations, won victory over death and made our salvation possible. Thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross, all who believe in Jesus are saved, justified, reconciled, and forgiven.
“7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Is 53:7)
“18“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”” (Mt 20:18–19)
“26Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26–28)
“32Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 44It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.” (Lk 23:32–49)
“24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Pe 2:24)
“18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” (1 Pe 3:18)
“6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Ro 5:6–11)
“7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight” (Eph 1:7–8)
“22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Co 1:22–24)
- What does the cross mean to you?
- Why did Jesus die on the cross?
- What happens if we sin again after we have been forgiven?
- Why is the cross perceived as a folly or as offensive by some?
- What does it mean to take up your cross every day and follow Jesus?
Additional Bible Verses
Ps 22, Ex 12, Lev 1:3-4, Lev 4, Deut 21:22-23, Luke 9:23, John 15:13, 1 Cor 15:53-57, Gal 3:10-13, Heb 2:14-17, Heb 9:15