No one ever gloried in the cross until the Prince of Glory was crucified. Though the cross has been a symbol of peace and hope for centuries, it certainly was not in Jesus' day. As far back as the time of Abraham, it stood as a symbol of torture and humiliation. In the ancient world, the Roman cross was comparable to the modern gallows and electric chair, only worse.

The first-century Roman mind found it inconceivable that a crucified man would come to be regarded as a religious Savior and hero. That is why the enemies of Jesus wanted him on the cross. The cross boasted a 2,000-year track record of robbing its victims of their credibility. But Jesus was not the victim of the cross. The cross was the victim. When the Lord was “lifted up from the earth, he began to draw all men to himself” (John 12:33). The cross did not change Jesus. Jesus changed the cross.

Jesus bore the sins of the world on the Old Rugged Cross and introduced the greatest transforming power the world has ever known. For more than 1,900 years, the “words of the cross” have been changing the darkest sinners. No wonder that Christians continue to insist on preaching a “crucified Christ” I Corinthians 1:23). To some, the words of the cross will always be “foolishness” or a “stumbling block,” but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18).