The Centrality of the Cross

Walk into the sanctuary of Magnolia Presbyterian Church and one of the things that you first notice is the cross. I don’t know the purpose of the architect but I suspect that the cross needed to be at the center of our sanctuary, central to our worship. It speaks volumes about our church and our faith.

The earliest Christians didn’t use a cross as a symbol of its faith. The New Testament church tended to use a dove, a peacock (to symbolize eternal life), an athlete’s victory palm, the Chi-Rho monogram or a fish (ichthys). It wasn’t until the second century, after the Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision, that the cross became a symbol of Christendom. Here is the story behind that Constantine’s vision.

On the eve of the Battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a vision in which he saw a flaming cross in the sky, along with the words “in hoc signo vinces” (with this sign you shall conquer). Upon his victorious battle, Constantine adopted the cross as his emblem and the empire and Christendom followed.

Over the two millennium of Christendom, the cross has become the symbol of the Christian church. It represents and memorializes Christ’s death.

  • The cross is a reminder of the cruel and gruesome execution that Christ faced on our behalf.
  • The cross reminds us of His atonement for our sins.
  • The cross reminds us that He died on our behalf, the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity.
  • The cross also reminds us of His resurrection from the dead, His conquering of death and of eternal life.

This year, as we come to another Holy Week and Easter, may the cross remind us of Christ’s death, of His sacrifice for our sins.

May we offer up prayers of gratitude for what He did on the cross.

May we offer up our lives to Him as a living sacrifice, a response for what He has done.

May we share what Christ has done to our family and friends who need to hear the Good News that Christ has risen.


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