You see them on and in church buildings, on national flags, by graves, worn around necks, and dangling from earlobes.
Whether intended as religious symbols or fashion accessories, you have undoubtedly encountered many crosses, but have you ever contemplated the depth of meaning that the empty cross conveys?
Originally employed by the Romans in an intentionally cruel and highly symbolic mode of execution, the cross served as a warning to occupied people would dare defy Roman rule. Jesus died painfully on the cross, but the death he suffered could not contain him.
On that first Easter morning, God raised him from the grave. The gospel narrative tells us that the disciples of Jesus were astonished to find his tomb empty. In the Gospel of Luke, the women who entered the empty tomb were asked by two men dressed in dazzling white: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).
Here we can truly appreciate the symbolic power of the empty cross. Because Christ is risen, he is not to be found in the tomb or on the cross. The empty cross actually draws our attention away from itself to the reality of the risen and living Christ — the incarnate Word of God who reaches us today with the promise that all who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be raised as well. Because the tomb of Jesus is empty, your tomb shall be empty! Because the cross of Jesus is empty, your cross will also be empty! So the next time you see an empty cross consider the power of its meaning.