Crucifixion was as repulsive as it was hideous. It was a torturous form of death that had been practiced and perfected by Rome to silence the Empire’s detractors.
Death by crucifixion was an effective form of execution in every instance except one. When Jesus said “it is finished,” He did not say “I am finished.” The moment Jesus died, the chains of those who were bound by death began to rattle.
Three days later when Jesus rose from the grave, Paul says captivity was led captive: Jesus took all believers who had died before Him and led them from Paradise into the glories of heaven.
What about the cross? Eyes of disbelief see it as defeat. The spiritually deaf, hear “It is finished” as the last gasp of a dying martyr.
The cross is not the coffin of Calvary. To the millions who have been embraced by His love and set free by His forgiveness, the cross is an emblem of compassion and a symbol of victory. The cross is best understood when seen through the lens of awe and reverence, for this gift from was God was His Son lifted up for us.
John Piper has written about the significance of the cross: “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.”
If you only think of the cross as something that was done “for” you, you are mistaken. The cross was “because” of you. Jesus did not die for His sins. He died for your sins and the sins of the world, and this is why Friday is good for you.
While you may wear it as a piece of jewelry around your neck, make sure its peace surrounds your heart.