What does the cross mean? Who is Jesus and why did he have to die on the cross?
The cross for Christians is of great importance. Jesus Christ is the One who died on the cross 2000 years ago. The cross was an awful instrument of torture and death, but for Christians it is so full of meaning, because it is the way that we people can be connected to God and have His life and have a relationship with Him.
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came into this world and his life is described as good – in fact, it was perfect. He never did any wrong. As he interacted with people he always showed love to those around Him. He upheld the cause of the oppressed, he was concerned for the poor and the needy and he opposed evil. Whoever came to Jesus for help, received it. Whoever they were.
The reason for this is because Jesus came to restore people, to make them whole. But not only physically, he wanted to do that spiritually, by changing the heart of people.
In Luke 19 we read the following story:
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus went to Jericho and met a man called Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was small, smaller than everyone else and had become rich – very rich – through dishonest gains. He was a tax collector and would steal from the money he would recollect from the people. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and to see over the crowd, he climbed to a tree. When Jesus walked pass, he told Zacchaeus to come down from the tree, and that he would stay at his house. Zacchaeus came down from the tree, went with Jesus, and Jesus changed him. Zacchaeus’ heart was changed, and because of this he decided to give half of his possessions to the poor, and to anyone who he had cheated, he decided to pay them back for times the amount.
And Jesus said this: "Today salvation has come to this house." The son of man, Jesus, came to seek and to save the lost. This summarizes what Jesus was about. He came to seek and to save the lost, and He did so, by dying on the cross.
The hymn "There is a green hill far away" says this: "He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good; That we might go at last to heaven, Saved by his precious Blood."
The message of the cross is this: If you trust in Jesus, turning and following Him, your sins can be forgiven. All that you have done against God is wiped clean and you are brought into a relationship with God. And what seals it is this: Jesus didn’t stay dead, but rose from the dead three days later, never to die again. He is alive!!! And as a result he can give you life, if you call upon Him, and seek Him, and follow Him, and trust Him.