The cross is mentioned a number of times in the Bible, but most significantly in the letters of Paul. Long before Jesus was crucified on the cross at Calvary, He exhorted us to take up our cross daily and follow Him, which is a condition of discipleship. (Luke 9:23) Jesus Himself took up this cross daily; it was the principal instrument by which He destroyed the root of sin and overcame the power of death and the devil.
Paul was gripped of the message of the cross. In his letters, we see how highly he values the cross; it permeated the whole of his life and preaching.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18.
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
These references show clearly that the cross is the crucial key, the very means by which we can follow Jesus on the new and living way into sanctification. Through the power of the cross, we are able to be transformed into Jesus’ image, so that the life of Christ can also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:10-11) This is why the message of the cross is one of the central, most crucial pillars of the gospel.