We seem to hear a lot in the news about the Christian symbol of the cross. However, most of the news is about taking the cross down for various reasons. One reason many want the cross taken down is because it offends them. Such as the case of the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross, when one man filed a lawsuit stating that the cross offended him. In 2004 a Federal Judge ruled that the cross be covered by a plywood box while the case was on appeal. We find this type of lawsuit on a fairly regular basis in our great country. So, what is the “problem” with the cross?
In some circles it is offensive because of the way it deals with human wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” Then in verse 25 we read, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
When we get caught up in the philosophy of human reasoning being above God’s wisdom we get offended when we are faced with an absolute truth. The message of the cross is an absolute truth and that is something that many will not tolerate. Those who are offended by the absolute message of the cross are basically saying that they are wiser than the Word of God and that human reasoning and tradition is all that counts. Belief in the simplicity of the cross is out of the question.
The message of the cross teaches us that man cannot save himself. It does away with our human ability and our own strength to get through this life and into life everlasting. Our society teaches us that we can do anything our little hearts desire, we can pull ourselves up by our own boot straps and that there is good within everybody and we just need to bring it out.
The message of the cross says that we are totally depraved and are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-4). The Apostle Paul in his struggles with this very issue says in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”
George Bennard penned these words “O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me; for the dear Lamb of God left His glory above to bear it to dark Calvary. In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, wondrous beauty I see; for ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.”
The cross of Calvary is more than a mere symbol of religion or Christianity. Christ dying on the cross, shedding His blood to pay for our sins is the central focus of the Christian faith. The Crimson line of Christ is found from beginning to end in the Bible. Without the message of the cross there would be no Christian faith.
We can also rejoice in that the story does not end with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The story picks up again three days later when Christ was resurrected from the grave. In the resurrection we see that Jesus Christ conquered death and those who put their trust in Him need no longer fear death. Victory is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord who gave His life a ransom for sin. (1 Corinthians 15:51-58)
From the beginning our country has been built on the Christian faith and the principles found in the Word of God. Why would we want to remove “in God we trust” from our money or take “One Nation under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance? It is for the same reason that one man’s intolerance of the cross caused it to be hidden behind a strange looking plywood box. It is because “the wisdom of God is foolishness to them who are perishing.” Just because the cross offends a few does not mean we let the tail wag the dog.