Elohay Mishpat

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Christianity is symbolized by a cross, oftentimes a soft, simple, silver placement affixed to a bright necklace; flowers and bright colors occasionally adorn dainty renditions for decorations in girls' rooms, and in lockers and class binders

And irony saturates how quickly that crucifix darkens under the shadow of history.

Crucifixion first appeared as an idea within the creative, malicious minds of the 6th century Before Christ; it offered a method of punishment that was cruel, painful, embarrassing and slow. It fulfilled the death warrants of many heinous criminals and a number of failed invaders.

The crucifix was an infamous sign of the power and might for the Roman empire, a sign of ruthlessness beyond comprehension of the absorbed nations of the empire. But why?

Because it represented justice so resolute as to support peace throughout the sprawling superpower, a span from the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal all the way to the Caspian Sea, as far north as the border with Scotland and south to Egypt. Through centuries of power, Roman rule held fast hold of its subjects with incomparable levels of ruthless justice — but also with grace.

In an act of mercy, Pontius Pilate offered the freedom of one of the criminals queued for crucifixion roughly 2,000 years ago, as was the annual custom of the state to appease the people; through His wisdom and beautifully poetic will, God allowed the Hebrews to save the life of a murderer in trade for the life of His perfect, sacrificial son.

Those most heartless in this world, even the most dark souls, have the greatest chance at forgiveness and redemption: even in a moment so crucial to the salvation of all of humanity, amidst such enormity God saved the life of one Barnabas and offered him a second chance for life and for life after death. Through a gruesome death worthy of the worst criminals, the Son of Man forfeited his life to pay the ultimate sacrifice, the most pure and lasting sacrifice for people placed at the precise moment for the Passover offering.

A cross is by no means a clean or happy picture worn about the neck lightly; a crucifix is representative of the caring love, chiding chastisement, swift justice and perfection of the King of kings, a gruesome, gory, utterly joyful picture of salvation and second chances.

Justice held the Roman empire tightly together under a common rule, though mercy and grace showed the empire's greatest strength. Isaiah 30:18 shows that:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
— Isaiah 30:18

Daily life provides the opportunity and necessity for God's grace and mercy; only with complete humility may we view and love those around us, care for those we don't know, die for those we've never seen. Through God's guiding will and empowering, fulfilling love we may share.