wooden cross on wood background

“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

I was recently walking around a local business — a place I had never been before. The facility is large, and in my bewilderment, I stumbled upon the location of the men’s restroom. I was glad to see a clear sign that indicated it was the men’s room.

That doesn’t always happen, does it? Sometimes restaurants try to carry their theme all the way into the restrooms, and the funny pictures and foreign languages are lost on me. I am glad to report I have never entered the wrong restroom, but I have come close.

Why am I writing all of this about that? Symbols mean something. They may not capture everything, but they capture something, so they should be clear and accurate.

Such is the case with the cross. It is the amazing symbol of the Christian faith. But are you clear on the accurate meaning of it?

The cross means death. Jesus died on a wooden cross. Death on a cross was brutal and ugly. No one wants to die, but this was an especially horrible way to die.

But in the Christian faith, the cross also means life. Jesus described his death as a “ransom.” When you pay a ransom, you offer something of value to free a prisoner.

We are the prisoners. Our rebellion against God has enslaved us to an eternity of separation from him. How will we be free?

On the cross, Jesus died for our sins. He did not die for his sins — he had none. He is the Son of God who came to give his life to free slaves to sin like you and me. Then he rose from the dead to demonstrate his victory over sin and death. If we have faith in him, we are restored to relationship with God, now and forever.

When you see a cross, ask yourself where you stand before that cross. If you stand in faith, you have a life of joy and peace, a call to serve this Savior who has served you, and the hope of eternity.

This is the most glorious symbol in all the world.

Father, thank you for sending your Son to go to the cross for people like us. May we live as the people you have created and are re-creating us to be.

Pastor Tom Stein
Tom Stein is the Associate Pastor at Chapel Presbyterian Church in Brighton Township. He is also an instructor in the Adult Degree Program at Geneva College. He and his wife Beth Ann have three children. He blogs biblical meditations at tomsteinjr.blogspot.com.