Jesus’ death and resurrection made the cross an important Christian symbol, evangelical leader the Rev. Billy Graham explains ahead of Good Friday.
Graham’s elaborates on the significance of the cross in response to a question published in the Kansas City Star that asked:
I am a foreign student here, but I do not come from a Christian country. I am curious about your religion. Why do churches have a cross on top of them, and why do some people wear a cross? What does it mean? — R.V.
The evangelical leader notes that before Jesus’ crucifixion, the cross represented “an instrument of torture and death,” as it was the structure used to carry out the horrific practice of crucifixion.
Graham further explains that Jesus’ experience on the cross changed its meaning, because Jesus’ “death was different from every other death in the history of the human race, because by his death, he made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and go to Heaven when we die.”
He adds that Jesus was able to free humanity of its sins because He is God in human form, and it was God’s plan to sacrifice Him for our sins.
“[This is possible] first of all because of who Jesus was: God Himself in human form. Jesus was not just another great religious teacher; He was God in human flesh! And because of that, death could not hold him,” Graham explains, adding that Jesus’ death and resurrection was also part of God’s plan for mankind.
“God loves us, and because He loves us, He came to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and on the cross He became the final sacrifice for our sins,” Graham writes.
The Baptist minister expounded on the crucifixion in a post last September, explaining that Jesus paid for everyone’s sins when He died on the cross.
“[Only God] can forgive us and cleanse us from all our sins. Listen: You don’t have to bear the burden of your sins any longer because on the cross all your sins were transferred to Christ, and He paid the price for your salvation,” the evangelical leader writes.
When asked in June 2012 if Jesus’ death or resurrection is considered more important, Graham said that both events are of equal value in the Christian faith.
Graham compares the events to two wings of a plane, saying both are equally essential.
“Jesus’ death on the cross is important because without it we would have no hope of forgiveness or eternal life,” Graham wrote, explaining that the only thing that will keep Christians out of Heaven is sin.
“But on the cross all our sins were laid on Christ, and He became the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins,” the evangelical leader emphasized.
Graham added that Jesus’ resurrection is “equally important” because by it “Jesus proved that He was the Son of God who could take away our sins. More than that, by His resurrection He conquered death and Hell and Satan for us. Now we don’t need to fear death, because He has defeated its power over us!”