Bible Question:

What is the significance of the cross of Jesus Christ?

Bible Answer:

Jesus Christ died on a wooden cross in the month Nisan in A.D. 33. He died because some Jewish leaders had plotted and eventually pressured Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, to put Him to death by crucifixion (Matt. 27:1, 11-20; Luke 23:13-24). The Roman soldiers had already beaten him and placed a crown of thorns on his head. After the sentence was announced, they forced Jesus to carry the cross on which He was to die. He had to carry the very tool of His death. Later it became the symbol of His death.

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. (NASB) John 19:17

History tells us that the wooden crosses had different designs. The question, “Are there any historical facts about the cross?” illustrates the shape of several ancient crosses. What is the significance of the cross of Jesus Christ? The significance of the cross is not its design, construction, or purpose, but its symbolic meaning. It is the symbol of Jesus’ death. It is symbolic of the fact that Jesus died so that our sins can be forgiven.

Jesus’ death was prophesied thousands of years before.

Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (NASB) Acts 2:22-23

How did He die? With a crown of thorns crushed down on His head, His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. After hours of anguish and pain, a Roman spear was thrust finally into His side, and there on that cross He died for the your sins and my sins.

. . . and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (NASB) 1 Peter 2:24

The sky turned black and the ground was rippled with an earthquake. Soon afterward His dead body was removed from the cross and buried in a cave. He died on a Friday and returned to life on Sunday.

When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead . . . (NASB) Acts 13:29-30

As a result, the cross today is a symbol of Jesus’ death. The Roman Catholic Church displays pictures of Jesus still hanging on the cross. It is a reminder of His suffering for us. Protestants display pictures of an empty cross a reminder that Jesus died AND returned to life.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. (NASB) Acts 5:30

Conclusion:

The Roman cross of crucifixion is a reminder of Jesus’ death and return to life. He died so that those who believe in Jesus Christ can be declared to be holy and spend eternity with God. All that God asks is that we believe in Jesus Christ and want our lives to be changed.

If you look critically at the wondrous cross you will see in it nothing but common wood. The cross is best discerned through repentent tears. – M. Lloyd-Jones

Reference Links:

Peace With God
Are there any historical facts about the cross?