The Power of the Cross Revealed Through Christ


The power of the Cross is not found in the wood of the cross, but in the person of Christ. The cross was a sign of death, but through Christ it becomes a sign of life. This is made abundantly clear as St. Paul writes to the Hebrews in today’s Epistle reading and identifies Christ as the High Priest. “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:15-16)

The image of the High Priest is one familiar with the Jews of that time for it was central to their understanding of man’s relationship with God. The High Priest of the Temple was the one person selected who presented the people to God. The Lord had provided the people a way to atone for their sin, but it was temporary based on a transactional understanding of man’s relationship with God. To receive forgiveness of sins, to become ‘clean’, one had to offer a physical sacrifice to receive forgiveness, thus the transactional mindset.

Thus, it is Christ offering Himself on the Cross that makes the Cross sacred, not the other way around. Jesus offers Himself, sacrifices Himself, “once and for all “(Heb 7:27), to provide each one the opportunity for salvation and altering the transactional understanding of our relationship with God to one of unconditional love, mercy, and compassion. Thus, in identifying Jesus as high priest, St. Paul assures us that Jesus relates to humans because he is human…tempted as we are tempted, yet not giving into temptation. He allows His free human will to align with His Divine will, thus giving those who believe in Him Hope.

Therefore, as we witness the Holy Cross carried in procession through the Church today and venerated as we leave, let us look upon it with a renewed feeling of hope found in the one true High Priest, Jesus Christ. Through Christ the Cross becomes a sign of reconciliation and hope. The Cross is heralded as that which is no longer a symbol of death, but of salvation. Let this symbol bolster our hearts and give courage to our spirits as we proceed through the closing weeks of Great Lent, as we enter into Holy Week and witness His Crucifixion, but most importantly, as we witness His glorious Resurrection. Christ brings power and hope to the Cross and through the Cross to us.