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Meaning of the Cross by Pastor Melissa Scott

They made an exception and exempted themselves from crucifixion because it was so horrible a death. And I was reading one of the history books, something that is so disgusting that in the fourth century BC, I think it was a general Varus, he had two thousand Jews that he had crucified and one of the onlookers chronicling said there were neither crosses nor tombs available. In other words, everywhere you looked there were dead bodies hanging; the same thing under

General Titus. We have a repetition in history and seldom do people look to the history of the cross and notice something. That it is separated out, much like the world’s religions, comparatively.

It is separated out. This is why people historically, great thinking minds, if you read the history of Gandhi, he will say why he felt he could not bring himself to this concept of Christianity, first of all because he had never met someone who had actually adhered to the faith. But secondly because it made no sense that a living God would die in such a barbaric way and that people would worship what is seen as a barbaric act. It makes no sense. So when you follow the history of the crosses, there are places where it’s extremely muffled.

There are speculation places. Some of us have seen, if you study Egyptology, the ankh. You know that cross that has the loop at the top, the Egyptians if you are into reading hieroglyphics, you see this. They call it the shoelace or the shoe-latchet cross. But strangely enough, as the Coptic Church emerges, this cross, which was used in Egyptology for the symbol of life and the taking or giving of life-I don’t know.

I’m not going to go into speculation, becomes the Coptic cross entering into the church. There are many angles to look at the cross, but the one that’s the most revelatory is how the Jews saw it. And why? It is because everyone, Romans and Jews alike feared the cross. This manner of dying, the way that death was presented was horrible, it was drawn out; it was just an absolute misery to die on a cross. But for the Jews, it was even worse.

I think they could probably stand up under the misery, but they could not stand up under the fact that Deuteronomy 21, and I believe it’s verse 23, that says,

“Cursed is anyone that hangs on a tree.” And God forbid that one-in our mind we make the jump to Jesus on the cross. But in their mind, they didn’t differentiate between one who would hang on a tree and one who would be nailed to a tree. It didn’t matter. So they were cursed. So to the Jew, it would be easier to suffer the death of stoning, a quick or quicker death than to suffer the invocation of a curse from God upon themselves. And in this light, I began to look at Paul’s use of the concept in his words “to be crucified with Christ.”

Posted in Pastor Melissa Scott.

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