From as far back as I can remember I've always known heavy sadness when thinking of Jesus' torture and crucifixion. How much sympathy can a six year old experience? A lot. And a fifty-three year old? Even more. Yet I only sense a whisper of his suffering.
Those Romans knew how to exact pain and humiliation. Crosses? I still cringe when I see that instrument of torture around the necks of people as jewelry or inked into their skin. Would they sport a guillotine or hypodermic needle should Jesus have died in another century? As a child I used to imagine Jesus walking down a busy street only to see crosses displayed as beauty on the people He loves. I imagined him recoiling from the assault, the reminder. I saw him violently shudder, run away, ask why.
Today I realize many people wear crosses for remembrance. It's important not to forget that Jesus did, in fact, die in a plea for mercy from God the Father. The Father accepted the sacrifice. Three days later He breathed new life into the son of His love. In that moment of amazing grace Abraham's spiritual seed likewise triumphed over death. Good to know! Just as grave markers engraved with crosses express resurrection to come so do empty crosses here and there symbolize the same.
In that regard, for me, the most joyful reminder of that pivotal point in history is the empty tomb. Jesus the Resurrected walked away from death to life eternal, the first human to do so. His victory leads the way for the rest of us. It is a non-disappointing hope, a promise for those who are compelled by its truth.
I don't wear crosses. I don't have them in my home. They make me weep. In their place I carry a Savior in my heart, a triumphant elder brother who could and did save my soul from darkness. In His honor and in gratitude I live my life as best I can because I believe Him.
And more importantly because I love Him.