Evangelist Billy Graham says Jesus Christ's death on the cross was so impactful that it managed to transform a negative symbol into one of hope.
"In ancient times a cross was an instrument of torture and death; condemned criminals would be nailed to a cross and forced to hang from it (usually in public view) until they died an excruciating death," Graham writes in his column for The Kansas City Star.
And even though Jesus Christ was hardly a criminal, He was put on that cross to die. Roman soldiers thought it would be an end to His life and misery, but they could not have been more wrong.
"His death was different from every other death in the history of the human race, because by His death, He made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven when we die," says Graham. "The Bible puts it this way: Jesus died 'so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death' (Hebrews 2:14-15)."
For people who are still wondering how it was possible, Graham says that it is simply because of who Jesus is—God Himself in human form.
"Jesus was not just another great religious teacher; He was God in human flesh! And because of that, death could not hold Him," says Graham.
"It is possible also because it was God's plan. God loves us, and because He loves us, He came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and on the cross He became the final sacrifice for our sins," he continues. "Discover Jesus for yourself as He is found in the pages of the New Testament. Then you'll understand why the cross is at the centre of our faith."