“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Some churches display crosses with a representation of the body of Jesus on them. In other churches, the crosses are empty. Have you ever asked yourself what the empty cross means?
Once I went through a very sad time in the hospital with our youngest son. Although he recovered from his illness, many other children in the cancer center died. I became sad there, and it took a long time for me to feel better.
One Sunday during this time, I went to church and the pastor opened the service with these words, “Welcome to the land of the living!” In that moment, I felt joy like I had not felt for months. I realized that what he said was true. Because Jesus had died for my sins, I didn’t have to fear death anymore. Jesus promises us eternal life.
An empty cross symbolizes eternal life. Jesus rose from the dead. Death did not win.
Not fearing death can make all the difference in how we view life. We can treasure friendship and family, knowing these relationships are permanent. Death separates us only for a little while.
Because our hope is true and real, we can offer it to others. They too can receive the gift of eternal life.
We can live our lives in joy, knowing that life, not death, is everlasting.
An empty cross—our hope for the future.
Kimberly Snider is a missionary to the Philippines.
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Copyright (c) 2005 Women’s Ministries of the Assemblies of God.