Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
In my opinion, it was done in a form of an insult to Christ! To have that figure upon the cross, is to say that Christ is CONTINUOUSLY being “sacrificed” and is continually dying! WHICH “of course” is NOT true and is ‘in fact’ VERY un-Biblical! AND “not forgetting” VERY blasphemous!. EVIDENTIAL READINGS: Romans 6:9-10, "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead DIETH NO MORE; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin ONCE: but in that He LIVETH, He liveth unto God." Hebrews 7:24-27, "But this man, [Jesus] because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever LIVETH to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; WHO NEEDETH NOT DAILY, as those high priests, to offer up Sacrifice, first for their own sins, and then for the people's: for this He [Christ] only did ONCE, when He offered up Himself." Hebrews 9:11-12, "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Hebrews 10:10, "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all." 1 Peter 3:18, "For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" PLUS, it "clearly states" in God's Word that we are NOT to make any graven images of any kind! Shalom and blessings to you dearest brother.
I'm sorry to say, no one knows what Jesus looked like. So, as far as I am concerned, it is an idol and should not exist. Jesus didn't want people to make a heavenly image of or pray to him. Just my opinion, but to me it is terribly wrong.
Perhaps it is designed to impress upon people (or to attempt to "make real" to them) the degree of suffering that Christ was willing to endure in our place, to the point of dying for our redemption. If the question is perhaps implying that an empty cross would be more appropriate as a symbol of Christ's victory over death through His resurrection, I can understand that perspective, but I don't see this issue as one that should cause divisions among Christians. To me, the central and most important fact is that Christ made eternal life possible for us through both His substitutionary suffering and death, in which He experienced (to a degree that I don't think we can ever fully understand or appreciate) the punishment that we deserved for our sin, and also His subsequent resurrection, which confirmed the sufficiency of His sacrifice.
The image of Christ still on the cross doesn't account for his resurrection, which takes his promises to fulfilment and secures our eternal hope, not only the payment for our sins. Romans 6:5, Philippians 3:10, 1 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:8.
From what I learned in my college theology classes at St. Anselm college, Christ's sacrifice is at the heart of the Catholic Mass. It is what takes place at every celebration of the Mass where bread and wine are transformed into His body and blood (LITERALLY) through transubstantiation. The sacrifice which took place with the crucifixion is the ultimate act of love. So the crucifix is a symbol of God's love for man (Agape).
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. - John 3:14-15 c.f.: The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. - Numbers 21:8–9) But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.- Galatians 6:14 As they were looking on, so we too gaze on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as he dies. We see the price offered by the redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection. He bows his head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that he may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so he may now be fixed in every part of your soul. – St. Augustine How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return. – St. Theodore the Studite Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act. It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue. - St Thomas Aquinas (c.f. Fr Robert Barron's 'Catholicism' Episode 2: https://youtu.be/amLnAgJmcqs?t=1119) If you cannot soar up as high as Christ sitting on his throne, behold him hanging on his cross. Rest in Christ's Passion and live willingly in his holy wounds. You will gain marvelous strength and comfort in adversities. You will not care that men despise you... Had we but, with Thomas, put our fingers into the print of his nails and thrust our hands into his side! If we had we but known ourselves his sufferings in a deep and serious consideration and tasted the astonishing greatness of his love, the joys and miseries of the life would soon become indifferent to us. - Thomas a Kempis
The cross is a reminder of what scriptures tell us if we are true followers of Christ. And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the [heavenly] Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truthfully, there are some among those standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:23-27
Christ was portrayed on the cross from the very early years of the church. It's a very holy reminder of how much He loves us. Removing the corpus began (besides among small heretical groups) with the 16th C. protestant reformers, who were to varying degrees influenced by Jewish Old Testament thinking, which forbade any images, since God was pure Spirit. The Incarnation changed all that. And we do in fact know what Christ looked like with the Shroud of Turin, which is authentic. The carbon dating of it has been proven to have been flawed.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.