My critics scold me for carrying a staff crucifix, “Jesus is no longer on a cross! Why do you have him on the cross?”
Like Paul, I preach “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”—1 Cor. 2:2.
The crucifix is a visual aid to help my audience focus on the atonement of Christ. I am well aware that Jesus was buried after his crucifixion and rose again the third day.
Those who are so opposed to the corpus on the cross usually do not object to a nativity scene at Christmas with a baby Jesus in the manger. Yet, we all know that Jesus is no longer a babe. But it is useful to remind men of the incarnation with a figure of the baby Jesus.
Symbols are helpful in building faith and conveying a message. The American flag in and of itself is nothing but a red, white and blue cloth. But to Americans and people worldwide it is the symbol of freedom and a display of patriotism. It is the standard which our military carries into the battle.
Jesus on the cross makes a more dramatic impression than an empty cross; it can be especially moving to people with a Catholic background. The crucifixion of Jesus is the means by which God defeated sin. It is the standard which I lift when I am battling the forces of sin and calling men to take up their cross and follow Jesus, who said, “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.”—John 12:32
The crucifix is also a reminder to hypocritical Christians. When they sin, they in effect nail Jesus to the cross again and treat him with worse contempt than the Jews did. At least the Jews had the lame excuse of ignorance. But when those who were once enlighten turn their back on Jesus for sin, it is as if they are driving nails into his hands and feet and freshly affixing him to the cross to their own destruction.—Hebrews 6:4-6.
With the staff crucifix, I remind these pretenders of their workless and worthless faith, which may be why some strongly object to being confronted with the sign. It is a call to holiness! Thank God for the Old Rugged Cross!