Alice C. Linsley
On this day we honor or venerate the Holy Cross. Those who attend the liturgy will doubtless hear a sermon about how God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. That is true.
Probably you will hear about the cross as an especially excruciating form of execution invented by the Romans. That is true. However, the efficacy of the Blood of Jesus does not rely on the existence of the Roman empire.
You may not hear about the power of the blood of Jesus to redeem, restore, heal, and reconcile. Sermons on the Blood of Jesus are now rarely heard in many liturgical churches.
Before he died at age 108, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri left a signed note indicating Messiah's identity: Yeshua - Jesus. A few months before, Kaduri had surprised his followers when he told them that he met the Messiah in dreams and visions. Kaduri's manuscripts, written in his own hand, have crosses drawn all over the pages. You probably won't hear about that in a sermon either.
There is also the fact that humans buried their dead in red ocher dust, a symbolic blood covering, for over 100,000 years. Blood and the hope of life after dead were clearly linked in the minds of those "primitive" peoples.
The typical pulpit narrative makes it sound as if the Blood of Jesus Messiah had no power to redeem until the Roman empire came into existence. Not so with the Church Fathers who considered Eden's Tree of Life a prefiguring of the Cross. No so among the early Hebrew who anticipated Messiah's death and third day resurrection.
Not so upon a closer reading of the Scriptures! The cross symbol and its significance predate the Romans by thousands of years.
What is the cross? It is two bars crossed. Most images of the Cross show a horizontal bar and a vertical bar. Where have we read of that in the Hebrew Scriptures, in texts from long before the Romans?
The blood of the Passover associated with Moses has a parallel in the blood symbolism of the scarlet cord associated with Rahab. The blood smeared horizontally on the doors brought salvation to Jacob's house. The cord hanging vertically from Rahab's window brought salvation to her house.
Consider then that the cross invented by the Romans was no surprise to the Eternal God.
Related reading: On Blood and the Impulse to Immortality; Messiah's Sign in Creation; The Substance of Abraham's Faith