Is 53 2-6

2He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.’

 Always empty Cross?

In a village church with a huge crucifix over the altar I remarked on the fabulous artistry in the carving. My companion harrumphed and commented that it should go and be replaced with an empty cross, symbol of the resurrection.

I was inclined to agree…. but for one thing. My awareness of the fact that right now, so many people ‘out there’ (some Christians included) have forgotten – or never knew – the sheer agony of the cross, the unfairness, the horror. Christianity has become so diluted in some cases that the cross is seen simply to represent the sort of kindness that says ‘anything goes’ and everything’s lovely, even when it’s not. An empty cross that always was empty and rather pointless.

At the weekend as I sat in St Pauls Peterborough during our training day, my eyes were lifted to Jesus up there on the cross looking down over us all and, quite frankly, I was shocked. Shocked that I had momentarily forgotten the passion that drove him to that place, to allow other people to hammer nails through his hands and feet as a criminal when he was guilty of nothing. The salvation of the entire Human Race is represented on that cross and should we find it hard to take, we must remind ourselves that this kindness that Jesus does for us is sacrificial in its giving. It is pure love and cannot be diluted to trivial words. His blood ran for us.

Now the empty cross is important! It’s power is as a pointer to the hope and security of the resurrection.

26‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.28This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.29I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ (Mtt 26)


Lord, today as I am reminded of the sacrifice you made for us, I am so sorry if I had forgotten. Please enable me to share the good news of freedom and the joy of your love and grace with others. May my words not be empty but loaded with the promise of the hope that you bring. Use me today please for your glory!


Georgina Hall

Missioner with Through Faith Missions