Let’s read Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the CROSS.”  Each time in the New Testament that the word ‘cross’ is used, it comes from the same Greek word, ‘stauros’.  The definition of that word in its literal sense is “a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specially), a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment).”  We read in Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a TREE.”  The word ‘tree’ is used here to describe how Christ died.  The Greek word translated ‘tree’ here is ‘xulon’.  The definition of that word is “timber (as fuel or material); by implication, a stick, club or tree or other wooden article or substance.”  That word is translated ‘STAVES’ in Matthew 27:46; ‘STOCKS’ in Acts 16:24; and ‘WOOD’ in 1 Corinthians 3:12.

In all likelihood, the Lord Jesus was nailed to a single stake or long post.  Does that detract from the Gospel story?  Does that make the work of the Lord Jesus somehow less valuable?  No it doesn’t.  The fact that the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to the ‘cross’ shows us two very important things.

  • We are sinners in need of a savior.
  • The Lord Jesus is that loving savior who died to set us free from our sins.

We read in Ephesians 5:2, “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”  It was on the tree that the Lord Jesus offered Himself to God, a perfect sacrifice great enough to put away the sins of the world.  1 John 2:2 tells us that the Lord Jesus is, “…the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  This ‘propitiation’ means that He is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  Does that mean that the whole world is saved?  No.  It means the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the ‘cross’ was able to put away all sin.  However, we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord for His death to be applied to us for our salvation.

Some, such as the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses, say that is wrong to speak of the Lord Jesus as being nailed to a cross, when in all likelihood, it was a stake.  I don’t agree with that.  Our focus should be less on the stake and more on the One who was nailed there for our sakes.  It was His DEATH that has saved us, whether there was one beam or two beams really has no bearing on the truth that Christ died for us.  When we are taken up with the truth that the holy Son of God sacrificed Himself for us, we can say, along with the Apostle Paul that the Lord Jesus “loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)  (225.4)