Easter, God's Love, Hope

Easter: What’s the Message of the Cross?

Statue of Jesus hanging on a cross

@JeanneTakenaka

What message does the cross convey to you?

To me, it’s love. And hope. 

How amazing is it that Jesus—a sinless man—loved humanity enough to endure the torture of beatings and being hung on the cross? And even more, He who had never experienced sin, accepted the burden of our sin because He loved us. 

Most of us know the story of how He was beaten, tortured, and hung on the cross until He died. But has His sacrifice become too cliché in our hearts and minds? 

Sculpture of Mary holding Jesus' body

We’ve heard the story of how He was laid in a grave, and three days later, He was raised from the dead in a new body.

But that body still bears the scars of His intentional act. 

When we get to heaven, we will see the scars in His wrists, on His feet, in His side.

When I see the cross, my heart is moved with humility. I so don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve the sacrifice Jesus made so that I could know Him, so I can experience His love.

I don’t deserve the gift of my sins being removed. 

Silhouette of a cross on a narrow tower against a cloudy sky

God loves us. The cross is the evidence.

When our normal shifts, yet again,

 . . . we are loved. 

Though we don’t understand the why’s and how’s of this time, we don’t have to. The big picture is we’re loved by a Father who sent His Son to die for our sin.

The cross didn’t have the final word, nor did the grave. 

Jesus was raised from the dead because He overcame sin and death. 

Meme with the words: "The cross is a beautiful symbol of despair transformed to hope" on an image of a small rock, a metal crown of thorns and a metal cross on top of each other

The cross isn’t merely a symbol of pain. It’s a beautiful symbol of despair transformed to hope.

For those of us who know Jesus, we have a call to love as God does. In this season where everything is uncertain, all events are canceled, let’s remember this: 

The message of Easter is never canceled.

God’s love for His creation is never canceled.

His nature is never canceled.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

Because of this, we have hope and we know love. 

And we have the gift of sharing His love with those in our world. This virus feels big, but God is bigger still. And love overcomes. Period.

A spring morning with sunshine cresting the horizon and making morning dew sparkle—symbolic of the hope we have in Jesus

As we spend time physically distancing ourselves, let’s be intentional about loving others as God loves us. 

Let’s be the ones who offer God’s hope and love to a fearing, hopeless world.

What about you? What does the cross symbolize to you? How are you loving intentionally in this season?

*****Life can be hard. Do you ever need a little encouragement on this journey? I’d love to walk with you.I’m excited to share a 28-day devotional ebook with my newsletter subscribers. Join the journey by clicking the image to receive this gift and uplifting thoughts monthly.*****

Click to Tweet: We’re loved by a Father who sent His Son to die for our sin.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

36 thoughts on “Easter: What’s the Message of the Cross?”

  1. if I’m to live the Life of Christ,
    I have to turn away
    from my plans, and sacrifice
    the dreams I kept in play
    through the long dull pagan years
    when I pretended my belief
    unto calculated tears
    that must have caused God grief.
    I have now reached a confluence
    of faith and hope and black despair
    that leads my limbic heart to sense
    something abroad in clearer air
    that shows the act of sweet release
    of self to God doth grant me peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, this was absolutely beautiful. Your description of how we genuinely follow Jesus moved me deeply. Reading your “testimony” was a great encouragement. God has done great work in you, my friend.

      I’m praying for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your thought provoking post today, Jeanne. I love thinking about the cross. The thing that I love the most is that the cross is empty … and so is the tomb. The eternal suffering was paid for in the temporal cross. The sting of death was taken from the cross and put into a grave. Even there it could not make it past three days. I am moved this morning reading this. Thank you so much for continuing to point us to the Lord, my friend. Have an amazing resurrection week and an even more amazing Easter Sunday… for we know that He is risen …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heidi, yes and amen! The cross and the tomb are empty! Our God is powerful and merciful, isn’t He? thank you for being such an encourager and a fellow “pointer-to-truth.” Sending you an Easter hug.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeanne,
    I love that you say the cross is a symbol of despair turned to hope. I do think that the whole sacrifice becomes “cliche” in my mind – after all, I’ve heard the story since childhood. But, like you, I need to stop and really ponder what Christ did for me. And in doing so I find hope for whatever crisis I find myself. Thanks to Jesus, there is always hope, even for the most dire of circumstances. I pray that more hearts will turn their eyes and hearts to the cross this Easter. Praise that Easter is STILL coming!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Like

    1. Bev, sometimes it takes a crisis to get my eyes and heart where they need to be: fixed on Jesus and quiet before Him. I’ve found it’s when I’m still before Him that I find hope renewed. I’ve been praying for hearts to be turned to Him in this time we’re in as well. May your Easter be sweet and filled with our Lord’s joy!

      Like

  4. Normal has definitely shifted for all of us during this Lenten season, and it’s been a challenge for me to keep my mind in gear. Now that Holy Week has landed, I’m making a concerted effort to be focused on the message without depending on all the cues I lean on for celebration during “normal” years.
    Do I really believe that God is enough?

    Like

    1. Michele, I’m kind of glad I’m not alone in having days where my mind slips out of gear. It’s so easy to lean on the cues that Easter’s coming, but this year, we must be more intentional to remember and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and the hope He’s given us. And your closing question is one I’ve been confronted with as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “The message of Easter is never cancelled.” Amen!!!
    Our Lord brings a message of hope and life renewed every single day. Thank you for this message today. May you and yours stay safe in Him!

    Like

    1. Yes, Joanne, our Lord does bring a message of hope and new life. I’m so glad that message isn’t only for one day a year. 🙂 I’m praying you and yours stay safe in Him as well. So thankful for you!

      Like

  6. Yes! Gods love is never cancelled ❤️ Years ago we had an exchange student from China live with us for a school year. Last night she told me her parents wanted to mail us 200 surgical masks because they were worried about our health and safety. What a beautiful act of love and kindness in the midst of a crisis. Love shares, it doesn’t hoard. Jesus could have hoarded his resources and his love, but he didn’t. He gave freely. I want to be like Jesus. I’ve got extra toilet paper, do you need some?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anita, what beautiful hearts your student and her parents must have. That made me tear up a bit. I loved what you said about how love shares, it doesn’t hoard. There’s so much truth there. You have a generous heart too, friend.

      Like

  7. Jeanne, I’m also writing for this Thursday’s blog post about how celebrating the resurrection is not canceled. 🙂 I love how you reminded us that Jesus’ body still bears the scars, and scars we will see one day. And this is such a powerful thought: “The cross isn’t merely a symbol of pain. It’s a beautiful symbol of despair transformed to hope.”

    Like

    1. Karen, this is a time when I’m so grateful God is above and beyond anything we face, including COVID-19. We can find hope in the hardest of circumstances when our eyes and hearts are fixed on Jesus. Looking forward to reading your post.

      Like

  8. Thank you for inviting us to ponder the message of the cross, Jeanne. I too think of love and hope. I am also amazed at Christ’s dedication to teaching. He taught us through His torturous death that death was not to be feared. He taught us to trust in Him, that transformation of despair into hope is possible, and that His love is given freely, even to those of us who have done nothing to merit such abundant love. Yes, Easter will still come this year, even though it will look different from past years. Christ’s message of generosity, love, and hope is still alive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie, you’re right. Jesus set the example for how to view death. It’s not the end of the story, is it? When we trust Him, we have no need to fear anything. And you’re right. We can also follow His example of loving—abundant, unconditional, free. I hope your Easter holds special memories.

      Like

  9. Oh Jeanne, this right here –> ‘despair transformed to hope.’

    I take these 4 words with me this morning as I make my way through the day. Hope is our byword right about now. But mostly hope and trust and faith in the One who understands because He walked this earth.

    Bless you, bless your holy week, friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hope is a good byword, my friend. When we have it in the right place, we find comfort and peace for every situation. Sending you a hug and praying Jesus’s peace pervades your heart this week and beyond.

      Like

  10. “The message of Easter is never canceled.

    God’s love for His creation is never canceled.

    His nature is never canceled.”

    Thinking about these things the last few days. Easter feels different this year without community of church, but Easter is not cancelled. And the message of Easter is needed more this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Theresa, Easter the holiday does feel different this year. We always drive to spend the day with family. We won’t be doing that. But, Easter the celebration will still be possible. Because Jesus’ resurrection transcends anything we face here on earth. I hope your Easter is a special one, however you and yours celebrate!

      Like

  11. Despair transformed to HOPE. Such beautiful comfort, Jeanne. I’m so grateful Jesus’ undeserved and unconditional love never changes and is infinitely bigger than this crisis! Thank you for breathing hope into my heart today with this message! Love and blessings of a HOPE-filled Easter!

    Like

    1. Trudy, I’m with you—so thankful that God’s love for us never, ever changes. And yes, He is bigger than this crisis. That’s such a reassurance, isn’t it? May your Easter be a HOPE-filled day as well, along with every other day. Hugs and blessings, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The journey to the cross was heavy and heart-breaking, but one Jesus did because of His great love for us. Remembering that journey, of Him bent and bleeding, helps me to not let the act become a cliche. I can groan about my small pains of today, but Jesus–His pains were so much greater because of His love! And, yes, there is so much hope and light coming!

    Like

    1. Amen, Lynn. When we frame our small pains within the context of the suffering Jesus endured it kind of puts things in perspective. And when I consider how much love He has for us? I’m left wordless in awe. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

      Like

  13. Thank you for these reminders. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and I am grateful for His unchanging spirit. Your photos of the cross are beautiful. I find myself feeling unworthy of all God has done for me. This week brings up a lot of emotions and reflections on the gift that God has given to me and you.

    Like

    1. Yes, He is, Mary! That’s such a comforting verse and truth, isn’t it? I agree about this week. Though it’s been harder to be still, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about what we celebrate on Sunday morning and all that had to happen before the resurrection which we celebrate. I hope you have a special Easter/Resurrection Day celebration, my friend!

      Like

  14. This year Easter will have another layer of meaning because of the pandemic. In a crisis everything gains added nuances – sorrows feel deeper and joys are heightened. Resurrection after death, light after darkness, hope after sorrow all remind us we will get through this hard season and see restoration.

    Like

    1. Anne, you’re right. When we face a crisis, it seems like all emotions run deeper. I’m so thankful that the hard seasons aren’t the end of any story. God does restore. He does give hope. And I pray your Easter celebration will be special this year.

      Like

    1. Betty, I know I don’t deserve the gift of my sins being forgiven and removed either. I guess that’s why I am so humbled when I stop to think about all Jesus did to show His love for me, and for all His creation. The truths you shared here are hope-filled. I hope your Easter holds sweet joy, even amid the hard of this time.

      Like

    1. Kathy, I’m glad that spoke to you. 🙂 I need to remember that God’s still in control, He’s still working, even when I can’t always see Him. We had a nice Easter. I hope you did too!

      Like

Comments are closed.