Uncomfortable (S1) - Day 8

Every religion and ideology has a visual symbol. Something that illustrates a significant feature or development in its history or beliefs. For the Jewish faith, it is the star of David. For Buddhism, it is the lotus flower. For Christianity, it is the Cross. This symbol has been used for the last 2000 years as a symbol of sacrifice, of salvation, and even a fashion symbol at times. But every time we see this symbol, we recognize that it is an uncomfortable reminder of the suffering and salvation that came through Jesus’ ordeal of the Cross. In fact, the Cross is now used in the possessive as “the Cross of Christ.”

Interestingly, it was not the first symbol that was used. In the catacombs outside of Rome, you will see a dove, an athlete’s victory palm, or a simple representation of a fish. It actually took a while until the Cross became the visual symbol that spoke to what Jesus had done for us by coming to earth. This symbol was a reclamation of a symbol of death and punishment left from Roman times. The cross was already a symbol from the remote antiquity of heaven and earth's axis.

After Constantine saw the cross in the sky (ad 312-313) on the evening of the battle of the Milvian Bridge, he adopted the symbol as his emblem and had it put on the standards of his army.

Even with all of this popularity and familiarity, it has not made the meaning behind the Cross any more comfortable for those who claim our salvation through it. I can remember when a pastor first walked us through what a crucifixion would have been like for the one being crucified. It was not only brutal but it was protracted. As well, watching the movie “The Passion of the Christ” was an exercise in discomfort at the physical suffering that was portrayed by the actors in that film. I found myself wanting to have an opportunity to take a break in the middle of it, to contemplate the sacrifice, and to steel myself for the next chapter in the story.

The Cross will always be a deeply uncomfortable symbol, and a difficult truth for us to find salvation in. It shouldn’t be easy, it should be difficult.

I leave you with this quote from Spurgeon today:

“Hide not the offense of the cross, lest you make it of none effect. The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength: to pare them off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of strength, but the death of it”–Charles H. Spurgeon.

  1. What has the Cross meant to you over the life of your faith? 
  2. What do you think of when you see it? 
  3. How can we keep the meaning of the Cross even though we find it so uncomfortable? 

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