Catholics worship both the Jesus who died for their sins and also the Jesus who rose from His sacrificial death for their sins. At Mass Catholics profess, "Jesus has died, JESUS IS RISEN, Jesus will come again." A cross is not a graven image unless we allow it to be then football,if we put it higher than God in our priorities may not be a graven image but is still an idol!Anything that we put before God is wrong I find the cross helps when I am low it reminds me of what Jesus suffered and How much HE Loves me,I paint and have done several crosses they arenever worshipped but are visual reminders of the great love of God to us. A cross or an icon or a statue can all direct your attention to God and help your worship, but if you regard the image as the god you worship, offering your prayers and treasures to it the it would be. there are idolitars that use no images and devout christians that do. If a cross or crucifix is an idol, then so is the American flag, and the Pledge is a prayer to a piece of cloth.
God commanded people to make statues and images for religious purposes and healing.
Cherubim in Exodus 25:18-19.
Saraph Serpent in Numbers 21:8-9.
We are told not to *worship* statues or images. These things are reminders of the God we love. They can bring us deeper into prayer.
Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. Galatians 5:11
Galatians 6:14 "But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
[ The Crucifixion ] As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
Although Jesus is risen and no longer on the Cross, what Jesus gave us on the Cross 2000 years ago He continues to give us this day. Jesus gives us His passionate and unconditional endless love, His infinite mercy, His shed blood and salvation, His friendship, and new life in God. We cannot rise in Christ to new life without first dying with Christ on the Cross. Everything Jesus gives to us is through the Cross. In our Christian journey on the way Home to the Lord, we, like Jesus, our Merciful Savior and Role Model to faith in God, carry our cross. Catholics not only preach Christ Risen, but also Christ Crucified. The heart of the Gospel message is Jesus, our promised Messiah, died for our sins for the salvation of our soul.
St. Paul preached Jesus' Crucified and tells us, "WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED, a stumbling block to Jews, and folly to Gentiles, but those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1Corinthians 1:23-24) He again says, "When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1Corinthians 2:1-2) True, our Christian faith is in vain without the Resurrection of Jesus, (1Corinthians 15:17) but it was the CRUCIFIXION of Jesus that paid for our sins. We cannot preach Jesus' Resurrection without also preaching Jesus' Crucifixion.
Jesus also does not want us to look at His Crucifixion as only a past event. When He appeared to the apostles after His Resurrection and in His glorified risen Body He showed them His wounds from His Crucifixion. (Luke 24:39-40 & John 20:20) Why would Jesus keep those wounds from His Crucifixion if He didn't want us to remember His Crucifixion and everything He gives to us through His Cross such as His passionate and unconditional endless love and infinite mercy? What would some of these non-Catholic Christians say to Jesus if Jesus appeared to them in His glorified risen body and showed them His wounds? Would they say, "Your Crucifixion is of the past, so why should we look at your wounds?"
Another false allegation that is made is the Crucifix is an "idolatrous image for Catholics to worship." This is another allegation that is totally false and absurd. It's not the image itself that is worshipped, but the PERSON the image represents. When Catholics genuflect before the Crucifix at church, they are genuflecting before the Person Jesus who died for their sins.
I've also been asked why I need a Crucifix to be reminded of Jesus' passionate love and self-giving sacrifice for me. Personally I wear a Crucifix to publicly preach Jesus' Crucified. The heart of the Gospel message is Jesus DIED for our sins and conquered death. St. Paul also says, "the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1Corinthians 1:18) I'm proud to wear my Crucifix. The Crucifix displays God's passionate and unconditional endless love and His infinite mercy He has for all of us.
Here is another verse to remember: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with pretentious speech or wisdom, announcing unto you the witness to Christ. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:1–2). You also might see a representation of the titulus crucis -- the plaque marked with "I.N.R.I." which stands for "Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum," the Latin initials for "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Catholics kneel before God, not "to" statues, regardless of what you may perceive. God Himself commands that graven images be made. Now either God and the Bible contradict themselves, or your interpretation of the Commandment against the making of images is wrong. God approves of the use of statuary, stained glass, ikons, and other graven images when they are used for their intended purpose: the glorification and adoration of God. God forbade the adoration of the statues themselves, and of the Canaanite "gods" the statues represented, not the making of graven images per se.
The first major objection of the Protestant regarding the crucifix (an image of Christ on the cross) is that Christ is no longer on the cross--He is risen. I was raised with this observation and my friend would ridicule the Catholic traditions. My friend also challenged us when we first became Catholics, commenting, “We serve a risen Christ, not one that is still on the cross.” Unfortunately for them, since childhood my mother had valued her beautiful Christmas crèche scene. I asked the obvious: “Do you serve the risen Christ or one still in the manger?” (I also had to comment on the cute little statue of Our Lady standing over the plastic baby Jesus, along with the animals.)
Second, Protestants see the image of Christ on the cross as a violation of the command to make no graven image. The Reformers were big on this. Protestants now utilize plain crosses in their “churches,” on their walls, and around their necks, just as they have pictures of Jesus (always with soft skin and melodrama) on their walls. (I was raised with this feminine Jesus presiding, ever so romantically, over our dinner table. After spending time in the Holy Land, driving through the Judean wilderness, and ascending Mount Tabor, which he and his disciples frequented, I doubt he was so dainty and delicate; he probably had calves like a bear and smelled a bit like one as well.) However, at the turn of the this century the Protestant churches (excluding Lutheran) were still pretty much opposed to display of the cross, even the bare cross. The bare cross was not in wide use until recently, though current Protestants don’t know their own history on the matter and that their predecessors opposed it as much as they did the Crucifix.
Third, they object to the Crucifix because it is Catholic and to condone or display the Crucifix is to make a statement in favor of Catholicism. No one of “Reformed” persuasion would want to be identified as a Catholic. A bare cross seems to be generic, which is what most Protestants like--generic Christianity--with no history to criticize or Church to obey.
Images and Gods in the Old Testament
Since the people in olden ages worshiped idols made of earthly materials [Endnote 1], God forbade the children of Israel to possess such “gods”. “Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God’” (Ex 20:1-3).
Even while God was inscribing these Words on the tablets of stone, the Israelites were violating His command. “Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt’” (Ex. 32:34).
We know that it was not the image itself, which was the problem. It was the making of an image that was considered to be a god and the subsequent worship of the image as a god. This is clear from the Scriptures, for if the making of an image was evil, then God commanded His people to violate His own laws. We will look at three examples in which God commanded the children of Israel to make images that were the likeness of “what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.”
First, the Mercy Seat which was situated in the Holy of Holies was to have golden cherubim above it with wings outspread. We read, “And you shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat” (Ex 25:18). Cherubim are images of things in heaven, angelic beings who stand before the throne of God. These images were to be placed at the center of Israel’s worship. However, there was no thought of worshiping the golden images, they were there for illustrative reasons, to replicate a spiritual reality, and they were three-dimensional, formed out of gold, at the command of God Himself. The very goldsmiths who were condemned for making a golden image (the calf) are now commanded to make a golden image (the cherubim).
Second, Moses was given detailed directions for the vestments worn by Aaron and the priests. Embroidered into the hem of Aaron’s gorgeous robe were artistic representations of bells and pomegranates. “And you shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling may be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the Lord, that he may not die” (Ex 28:33-B35). An image or likeness of a fruit, something obviously copied from an earthly model.
The third example is found during the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The people became impatient and spoke against God and Moses. In response God sent poisonous serpents into their camp and many died. When they begged Moses to intercede for them the Lord responded with the command to make an image of a serpent. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live’. And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived” (Num 21:8-9). A “graven image” of a serpent was raised upon a pole to be gazed upon by the children of Israel, and the image was used by God to heal the people from the fiery bites of the serpents.
The bronze serpent, even raised on a pole, was not a violation of God’s earlier command against graven images. The earlier command was against having or worshiping a god besides the Lord. Image was synonymous with the practice of ancient peoples who made and called images “god” and actually worshiped them. This was sin, not the simple act of making or having a representation of a physical or heavenly object. It is the intent, and the purpose for which the image is made that becomes the sin, not the image itself. An image is simply an image, a representation. On the other hand an image intended to be a god is a god and is thus idolatry. Making a dish or cup is not a sin, worshiping the dish or cup as a god is idolatry and therefore sin.
That the intent and reaction to an image is the real issue is born out by the fact that the bronze serpent was good, commanded by God, and served a sacramental purpose, yet when it was later treated as an idol, by the act of worship, it became idolatry and fit the category of an image that was a “god” that was a substitute for the God of Israel, the living God. “Ahaz king of Judah . . . removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it [as to a god]; and it was called Nehushtan [the piece of bronze]” (2 Ki 18:1, 4).
Images, representations of real things, and pictures or statues were not forbidden. There was always a tendency in ancient cultures to convert such images into gods to be worshiped. It was this idolatry that was evil, proscribed by God. Any object, whether it is representative of earthly or heavenly things or not, can become an idol [a god] and it is this idolatry that is wicked, not the making of objects.
Images and Images of Christ in the New Testament
something changed when Jesus entered the world. The incarnation split space and time as the divine Being became a man. God had always been invisible, but now he was made visible for the first time. What was not visible and therefore unreproduceable was now visible and made able to be reproduced. Thomas said, “Show us the Father” and Jesus responded, “Have I been with you so long and you still don’t know me” (Jn 14:9). Paul tells us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15; 2:9). Therefore, that which earlier had had no image now had a visible appearance. Jesus could now be reproduced in art because He Himself had taken on flesh and was a visible image of the Father.
So wearing the cross or symbols of faith I love to surround myself with, so that I am reminded all the time to keep my focus on the Lord.
It is a good tool to use, symbols of Christ the Lord. It reminds me to pray more! , don't know your denomination, but one that produces the fruit of hate is certainly not the Fruit Of the Holy Spirit which is Christ/God.
Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
1 Corinthians 1:17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospelnot with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Galatians 5:11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.
Galatians 6:12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Ephesians 2:16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
Philippians 3:18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Colossians 1:20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Hebrews 12:2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Philippians 2:8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!