The Beauty of the Cross

How can something so vile as a cross used to murder millions be considered beautiful? Because at a set time in history, the selfless Son of God freely gave His life on that instrument to redeem mankind.

John 19:17-20 CJB “Carrying the stake himself he went out to the place called Skull (in Aramaic, Gulgolta). 18 There they nailed him to the stake along with two others, one on either side, with Yeshua in the middle. 19 Pilate also had a notice written and posted on the stake; it read,



20 Many of the Judeans read this notice, because the place where Yeshua was put on the stake was close to the city; and it had been written in Hebrew, in Latin and in Greek.”

Jesus carried His cross, was nailed to His cross, and died on His cross. 

Hebrews 12:1-2 CJB “So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us, looking away to the Initiator and Completer of that trusting, Yeshua — who, in exchange for obtaining the joy set before him, endured execution on a stake as a criminal, scorning the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus gave His life on the cross; He bridged the gap between sin and salvation so that we could call ourselves sons of God. The sinless life of Jesus magnifies our sin, not to condemn us but to convict us so that we might be drawn to a place of repentance and leave our sins for salvation found in the shed blood of Jesus.

The cross was a brutal instrument of murder, yet Jesus turned it into a beautiful symbol of reconciliation. Unfortunately, the cross has fallen out of fashion in the modern church. Buildings don’t display it, preachers don’t preach it, and worse yet, rappers wear it and don’t understand its power.

1 Corinthians 1:18 CJB “For the message about the execution-stake is nonsense to those in the process of being destroyed, but to us in the process of being saved it is the power of God.”

What Jesus went through wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice, it was horrific. But because Jesus gave His life, we can be right with God. Our sin isn’t pretty, it is ugly, it is despicable, and our sin kept us from fellowship with God. Romans tells us that no man is good and that our righteousness is as filthy rags1. We need the blood to cover our sin. We need the blood and the water that flowed from His side to cover our sin and wash it away. We are new creations by what Jesus did on the cross.

The cross by itself is ugly. Certain Christian uses of the cross have been ugly, murdering Jews in the name of Christ and under the banner of the cross. That is absolute wickedness. The true beauty of the cross is that we have access to God and that the wall between Jew and Gentile has been torn down.

Ephesians 2:8-22 CJB “For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. 10 For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do. 11 Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth — called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised — 12 at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood. 14 For he himself is our shalom — he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah which divided us 15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity. 17 Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby18 news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family. 20 You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself. 21 In union with him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord. 22 Yes, in union with him, you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!”

The enemy wants to stop the preaching of the cross and the blood of Jesus, just as he wants to defile its beauty by using it as a symbol to build up the wall that Jesus tore down. Therefore, let us remember the beauty of the cross and proclaim the gospel message it contains to all the world, to the Jew first and also to the Greek2.

  1. Romans 3:10-12 (Psalm 14:1-3), Isaiah 64:6
  2. Romans 1:16

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