The Emblem of Suffering and Shame

As a five-year-old girl standing before a towering statue, double my size, I see Jesus with a crown of thorns with his head bowed down. I see his bleeding hands and feet nailed to the cross, I feel sorry for him.  The cross for me that day was a symbol.  All I could feel was pity for Jesus who hung on the cross.

Today many of us see the cross as a symbol.  Crosses come in various shapes, colours and sizes.  We see them everywhere, from the top of a Church to the carving on a graveyard tombstone.  In Indian cinema, ‘Peter’ would be wearing a wooden cross to portray his religious belief. We use crosses as a good-luck charm to ward of danger.  We also wear them on our necks to bake and shape them on our hot cross buns.  So much so that we have forgotten, as the hymn writer George Bennard put it as – ‘The emblem of suffering and shame’. 

The cross is more than just a symbol, it is a place of anguish. It is the place where the Son of God was stricken so that you and I can be saved.   “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” said the writer of Hebrews (1).  Consequently, Jesus came to pay the ultimate price and Isaiah gives us a glimpse of His pain:

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

He was crushed for our iniquities;

Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

And with His wounds we are healed (2).

The cross is a place of love.  As human beings, we long to be loved.  We seek the love of our family, we seek to be loved by our peers, friends and the people around us.  The cross is a place where God proves His love for us.  Paul in his letter to the Romans writes, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we are still sinners, Christ died for us”(3).

It is a place where the Creator voluntary gave Himself up into the hands of His creation

The cross is a place where the justice of God, which demands holiness and right-way of living is met with the love of God who willingly and lovingly paid the penalty of our sin.  It is the beginning of what is to come.  For it is Jesus’ death and resurrection that gives us the hope of eternal glory.

The hymn writer Elisha A Hoffman while reading about the crucifixion of Jesus, penned the famous hymn ‘Glory to His Name’.  May we too, when we look up at the cross, fall down in worship and give glory to His name.

Down at the cross, where my Saviour died,

Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,

There to my heart was the blood applied;

Glory to His name!

Glory to His Name,

Glory to His Name,

There to my heart was the blood applied;

Glory to His Name!



  1. Hebrews 10:4
  2. Isaiah 53:5
  3. Romans 5:8

4 thoughts on “The Emblem of Suffering and Shame

  1. Beautifully written Lynette. Yes. The cross is not a mere symbol. It has deep meaning. It symbolises God’s great love for us that He let His only Son die on the cross to deliver us from our sins. That is the real meaning and importance. Thanks for the blogs which help me think deeply.


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