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By Greg Laurie

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
—Matthew 16:24–25

What comes to mind when you see a cross? Maybe you think of it as the symbol of the church or of Christianity. For many, the cross is a fashion accessory or maybe even a tattoo. The early church, however, did not use a cross as their symbol; they used the fish as their symbol. The early church did not wear crosses; they died on crosses. It was an upsetting, shocking image.

In the first century, people who lived in any area occupied by the Romans knew about crosses, because the Romans had a penchant for crucifying people. Crucifixion was not an efficient way to put a person to death. There were far more effective ways. The Romans used crucifixion as a means of torture. They used it to inflict the maximum amount of pain. They crucified people and put them on public display to serve as a warning to anyone who would dare defy the power of Rome.

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