The Crucifix on Good Friday

The Crucifix on Good Friday April 17, 2019
Credit: Pixabay

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? –Matthew 16:24-26

When I was little, I helped my father pick out a cross necklace for my mother, even though we weren’t all that religious at the time. While we were looking, I found one with Jesus on it. I figured that was the best one to get. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get both a cross and Jesus at the same time?

My dad told me we didn’t wear crosses like that. Only Catholics wore crucifixes. (At the time, I didn’t think it was very fair for Catholics to be stingy with Jesus like that.)

When I got older, my family settled into an Anabaptist form of fundamentalism. I heard more comments about crucifixes.

What sort of person would hang a dead body on their wall?

I heard crucifixes were morbid and put the focus on Christ’s death when it’s really his resurrection we should focus on. Why would we want to sit around and be sad all the time about Jesus being crucified? Christians were supposed to be joyful all the freaking time. If we weren’t bouncing off the walls with joy, then we obviously weren’t filled with the Holy Spirit. There was no room to reflect on our own suffering or the sufferings of others. There was no place for a victim God.

I was told we didn’t use crucifixes because our savior was alive. He was risen, so why would we want to keep him on the cross? We were Easter people, not Good Friday people. Christ is alive!

My savior is alive. I also have crucifixes in my house.

Seeing Christ on the cross is an important reminder for me. Years ago, a pastor reminded me we can’t get to Easter without walking through Good Friday. Christians usually like to jump ahead to the celebration of Easter without acknowledging what it takes to get there. It takes suffering. Blood, sweat, tears, and dirt.

Jesus told us to take up our crosses and follow him. When he said those words, the people listening knew exactly what he meant. He wasn’t talking about enduring inconvenient things in our lives. Back then, a cross meant one thing—death.

The crucifix reminds me there’s a cost associated with following Jesus. It’s the way of death, and death isn’t pretty. It’s a messy, heartbreaking, dangerous path.

The crucifix reminds me of Christ in all of us. How can I say Jesus isn’t on the cross anymore when there are so many people suffering?

On Good Friday, it’s important for us to sit with that suffering and acknowledge its impact on us and on the world. Jesus is alive and Jesus is hungry and friendless and exhausted and sick and cold.

The crucifix can remind us to do something about that suffering, knowing that “doing something” will mean the death of comfortable and ignorant lives. It’s the death of arrogance and self-importance.

So many Christians claim they’re willing to die for Christ when they aren’t willing to live as though they were dead for Christ.

What good is it to gain the world and lose our souls? What good is it for us to seek power so we can push out people we don’t like? What good is it to set ourselves up as Christian celebrities?

Dead people don’t need fans.

The crucifix isn’t a symbol of death for me so much as it’s a reminder of how I should live.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brianna LaPoint

    Oh boy. Easter was the name of a Pagan goddess, the eggs and the chocolate rabbits all pagan. But, people will believe whatever they want to believe. That is their choice. I choose to do research.

  • Timothée Ambroise Pierre Hayes

    Haha, obviously very little research. Obviously you aren’t too bright. First of all, the word « Easter» in English and «Osten» in German are the only two oddball names for the day celebrating the day of Christ’s resurrection. Both words refer not to Eostre (German goddess) or Ishtar (Summarian) but, the « EAST » — « Ost » is « east in German.

    European languages use one form or another of the Latin name for Easter, Pascha, which is derived from the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover. In French it’s Pâques, in Italian it’s Pasqua, in Dutch it’s Pasen, in Danish it’s Paaske, in Bulgarian it’s Paskha, and so on and so forth.

    In the Bible, Jesus returned to Jerusalem from his forty days in the desert just before Passover. In fact, in the Gospel according to John, Jesus was killed on the day before the first night of Passover, at the time when lambs were traditionally slaughtered for the Passover feast (because Jesus was the Lamb of God, ). This is why Easter is still celebrated the week after Passover, which is why it’s a different day each year, because the Jewish calendar is lunar rather than solar.

    There are two main theories, both of which are plausible, as to where did the word English get their word for the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection : One theory for the origin of the name is that the Latin phrase in albis (‘in white’), which Christians used in reference to Easter week, found its way into Old High German as eostarum, or ‘dawn.’ The other is that Eosturmonath simply meant ‘the month of opening,’ which is comparable to the meaning of ‘April’ in Latin. The names of both the Saxon and Latin months (which are calendrically similar) were related to spring, the season when the buds open.

    In either case, the claim that the English celebration is rooted in pagan goddess worship simply has no historical basis, even if some anti-Catholic polemicists have gotten a good deal of mileage out of it.

    As for eggs, bunnies and chocolates being associated with Ishtar, could you actuAlly provide evidence ? Because there is none. The symbols listed for her across multiple sources agree. They are: a six, eight, or sixteen point star (most commonly being the eight pointed star) which is sometimes accompanied by a crescent moon; “hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse, a common symbol of fertility and plenty”; the rosette; a lion (she is sometimes depicted wearing armor and riding a lion in her capacity as a war goddess, as shown on the Ishtar Gate, the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon, which was constructed in around 575 BC under the orders of Nebuchadnezzar II); gates; and doves. I have been unable to locate even one source that lists either eggs or bunnies as symbols for Ishtar.

    Chocolate came from South America and wasn’t known in the rest of the world until the 16th Century.

    Painting Easter eggs red, for Christ’s blood, goes back to the first century, and is attributed to Mary Magdalene herself. The egg can be considered a symbol of the Resurrection, since it signifies new life. The hardness of the shell has been likened to the stone tomb in which Our Lord was laid after his death on the cross.

    As for bunnies… you’re a pretty ignorant one if you buy into the stupidity you wrote.

  • sancho

    Do you wear a wedding ring? The ancient pagan Romans started this tradition. The ring signifies eternity (no beginning or end). Do you say Thursday? If you do, and if I held your mindset with respect to the word Easter, I would accuse you of honoring the Norse God of Thunder Thor. But I also choose research, and I also study logical fallacies, so I don’t draw such silly conclusions. If you want to do more research on the word Easter, here is a good article from the Oxford Dictionary:
    Most languages (such as Spanish which I am fluent in) use their word for Passover to describe this time of year. Spanish speaking Catholics(which includes Pope Francis) refer to this weekend as Pascua. The Germanic languages (of which English is a derivative) are unique wrt their term. The explanation of that peculiarity is found in the article. Also, by believing in Venerable Bede’s account of Eostre, you are giving credence to an 8th century English Monk who is the only source for the legend of Eostre. Do you then give credence to the rest of Bede’s beliefs? I don’t think so. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and go out on a limb and say that I don’t believe you ascribe to the foolish charge (usually brought by Seventh Day Adventists or illogical atheists) that Catholics worship Eostre. Oh boy.