Greetings, David here.
This week we’re reflecting on the cross. The empty cross, like the empty tomb speaks to us not of loss, but of hope and abundant life. Jesus died, was buried and then rose. Not many people saw that coming – it was just not on their radar.
Christ died so that sin and death could be conquered. In the same way we die with Christ so that the reign of sin and death over us can be conquered. In other words we don’t come to the cross to stay there. We have to pass through the cross in order to gain new life. Life is the goal. Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I get a quite excited about the empty cross. For me it so much more than just a symbol and the Easter story. We all see Easter all year round don’t we? Things die, get buried, and then transform and rise again into something else. Isn’t this just our story – our life?
For me, the empty cross represents belief that, after his death by crucifixion, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that his atoning work is finished and complete. Therefore, the empty cross does not depict emptiness, but quite the opposite. It proclaims Christ’s victory over death, for which the cross was the instrument not of torture – but one of eternal and relentless hope. It proclaims hope and assurance, for Christ is risen and lives today.
An empty cross is common as a point of reference, of focus and of attention, not as an idol, but as a symbol of Christian events. The image of an empty cross is symbolic of Christ’s death and resurrection. Without the resurrection the life and death of Christ is of no use to anyone. Everything Jesus did and said makes no difference if He didn’t rise from the dead. A dead Christ can’t save anyone.
For these and many more reasons many churches choose to use an empty cross as a symbol of Christianity’s highest ideals. Therefore the empty cross symbolizes the risen Christ. Throughout history, the cross has been the common and central faith focus of Christians, not because of what it is, but because of what it represents.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it someday for a crown.
~ George Bennard, 1913
So here’s some questions for you to ponder this week:
1. What does the cross represent for you?
2. If you wear a cross around your neck, what are hoping others will ask?
3. What things, feelings, or thoughts have you noticed that have died, been buried, and then been transformed into something else (rose)?
4. What in your life needs to go through this process?
5. What action will you take today?
Here’s what the cross mean to me. What does it mean to you? I’d love to hear your comments on the cross, the symbol of where life and faith intersect.
Lift High The Cross
At the cross I bear my heart
The symbol to which I sing
O Jesus you have saved my soul
To you my life I bring
At the cross I leave my sin
The sign to which I kneel
At your feet I fall down
I am covered by your seal
On that cross you paid it all
The hope for all to see
That empty cross, the sign of life
For you, for us, for me.