The cross is at the center of all Christianity. And as I reflect upon it, I remember a painting I saw one time of the Lord Jesus Christ. He looks to be about 15 years of age and is standing in a doorway of a carpenter’s shop. The sun is setting. The wood shavings are scattered across the floor. And you can see the carpenter tools in the background. It appears to be the end of a hard day and this young Lad, who would one day die upon a cross, is stretching and yawning. And on the back wall, you can see the boy’s shadow in the shape of a cross. Jesus lived in the shadow of the cross. He knew from His youth that He was born to die. And die He did—for all of mankind to be saved. How do I respond when people ask, “Why the cross?”
I turn to 1 Peter 3:18 which says: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
There’s enough gospel dynamite in that one verse to blow the top off the question, “Why the cross?” We needed a Savior to pay the penalty of our sin before a holy and awesome God. That’s why there is a cross.