What was a cross? And why did Jesus have to die?
Jesus Christ was the Son of God who came to this earth. For thousands of years before He came, mankind had lived on the earth; and they, like all of us, had sinned and continually done and thought things that are wrong. The penalty of sin is death. Man tried to overcome sin by their own efforts, but none could become perfect. God set up a system of sacrifices for sin for the Jewish people, but these were not adequate because they were temporary and could not bring lasting healing or forgiveness.
When Jesus came to earth, He came to offer Himself as the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus was without sin, yet He was punished by death as a common criminal. The cross was a cross of wood in the ground that was used as a horribly painful way to execute common criminals.
Jesus, though He was God and without sin, was accused of blasphemy and was sentenced to death. Although He could have freed Himself since He had the power of God at His disposal, He willingly offered Himself and was put to death in a horrible and painful way. As He hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the sins of the world, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life.
The cross was meant as a tool of execution; but it has become a symbol of victory of life over death when Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after He was crucified. Even death itself could not master God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins; but He has risen victorious from the dead! Praise His wonderful Name!