At first sight, the selection of an instrument of brutal execution as the symbol of a religion of love seems extremely odd, perverse even.
There were, after all, plenty of other candidates. The church might have chosen
- the crib in which the baby Jesus was born (emblem of his incarnation)
- the carpenter’s bench at which he worked in Nazareth (emblem of the dignity of manual labour)
- the boat on the lake of Galilee which he used as a pulpit (emblem of his teaching ministry)
- the towel which he tied round him when he washed and wiped his disciples’ feet (emblem of humble servitude)
- the tomb in which his body was laid and from which he rose (emblem of his resurrection)
- the throne which he occupies today at the Father’s right hand (emblem of his supreme sovereignty)
- the dove, the wind or the fire (emblems of the Holy Spirit)
But the cross is the fitting symbol of the Christian faith. All these other aspects of hugely important – vital, even. But the have no meaning or significance apart from the cross of Christ. The Christian faith is, first and foremost, the faith of Christ crucified.
Based on Stott, Evangelical Truth, p82f.