Jesus and the cross

As a baptist Jesus’s death on cross for our salvation and a personal relationship with him is far and away central to our beliefs and practices. From a baptist perspective besides differences in theology at certain points, what concerns me maybe for nothing] in Catholicisms is what seems to me a minimizing of Jesus death/burial resurrection for forgiveness of our sins and a personal relationship with him. So from that position I wish to ask a few questions

question How central is Jesus death on the cross for forgiveness of sins and a personal relationship with him in

1] catholic theology- how often is it taught spoken of, how important etc

2] The mass- how central to the mass and how is it

3] To you personally- your thoughts, your prayer life with god etc


Jesus’ death on the cross is more than central, it is everything in Catholic theology. Enter a Catholic church and what do you see? Christ crucified. As for having a personal relationship–we believe that receiving Christ in the Eucharist is the most personal relationship we can have with him. Certainly we know and love him as Lord and Savior, but that doesn’t need to entail any emotional response on our part nor are we to rely on our emotions–read C. S. Lewis on the topic to see what I mean.

2] The mass- how central to the mass and how is it

At the consecration of the bread and wine the priest asks God to accept the one offering Christ presented to the Father, which we represent on the altar. What was that one offering but his sacrifice on the cross. For us Catholics the body and blood of Christ is an eternal offering, not a one time offering 2000+ years ago–because Jesus was God as well as man and he presented the offering of his death in eternity, not merely in time.

3] To you personally- your thoughts, your prayer life with god etc


Every day I attempt, through God’s grace, to do as our Lord commanded us–to take up my cross and follow him. The cross is our redemption and the means of our salvation. I thank God for that daily, especially in praying the Divine Office. Many Catholics attend daily Mass, at which the sacrifice of Christ is represented all around the world. Christ’s sacrifice is remembered at every hour of the day somewhere in the world in Catholic churches, chapels, and monasteries in nearly every nation, perhaps every nation, even where persecuted for it. Central to Catholicism? It IS Catholicism.

Regarding the personal relationship - Catholics (like the Jews who preceded us) view our relationship with God in two dimensions.

The first is our personal relationship. This is the least important of the two, because there are times (hardship, etc) that some people find it difficult to relate to Jesus on a personal level. Protestants speak of a “personal Lord and Savior” - I once posted a thread asking about the origin of this “personal” phrase or idea (it’s not evidentely Biblical - the word “personal” does not occur in the NT). The thread generated 65 responses, and (unless I missed something) nobody knew.

The more important relationship is between Jesus and the Church he established on earth. It is this Church through which saving Grace comes (in the form of Christian Baptism, in which you (as a Baptist) share). It is this Church by which we can restore our Saving Grace should we loose it through deliberate mortal sin. It is this Church whereby the teaching authority of the Apostles (upon which the Church was established, long before the New Testament was written and centuries before it was recognized) is preserved through an unbroken line of Apostolic Succession of our Bishops by the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

2] The mass- how central to the mass and how is it

The Mass is the center of all Catholic worship. It is not “personal” - it is something that is necessarily done in community. This is the primary non-Lenten expression of our belief in the Sacrificial Death of Jesus on the Cross. The priest enters the Sanctuary preceded by a Crucifix. We recount the Biblical account of the Last Supper at each and every Mass. We recite our belief in Christ’s death and resurrection with every Nicene Creed.

3] To you personally- your thoughts, your prayer life with god etc

Well, I suppose I would never pray or think about God without my faith in Jesus (and his Church), so I would say it’s pretty important.

Jesus’ death and resurrection are celebrated at every Mass. It is the central act of the Mass. It is the Mass. The entire sacramental life of every Catholic is rooted in Jesus’ death and resurrection and reception of the grace which he won for us on the Cross through the sacrament.

I can only speak about my own personal relationship with Jesus. I long to be with him and pray every day, throughout the day. I wish I could do better but my relationship to Jesus my King, my Judge and my Brother is one of the most important things in my life.

Jesus’ relationship to me is not just personal however. Jesus relates to me through his body which is the Church. I am incorporated into that body whenever I receive the sacrament of the Eucharist. When I hear the Church I hear Jesus. When I go to Church I meet Jesus.


  1. It is central to Catholic theology. Without Jesus’ death on the cross, no other aspects of Catholic theology would make any sense and they would be meaningless. Example: Catholic theology is that through baptism we participate in Jesus death. The merits of his death is what washes away our sins when we are baptized. Without that, baptism would just be a nice symbolic gesture that I do, rather than something that Jesus does for me.

  2. It is the central part of the mass. Everything within the mass leads up to the culmination of the Eucharist which is a re-presentation of Jesus sacrifice offered to the Father on our behalf. This also incorporates aspects of the last supper, death, and resurrection. Without Jesus’ sacrifice there is no Eucharist, it would just be a memorial meal kind of like thanksgiving dinner. Without the Eucharist there is no Catholic mass, it would just be a group of people gathering together for praise and worship.

  3. Personally the most often thought I have of Jesus is either on the cross, or in the Garden of Gethsame. The only thing hanging on my walls in my house is a crucifix where I walk by it the most. It’s a constant reminder. It is also situated so that when I pray in my usual spot, I am directly facing that crucifix.

love the bold section thank you.

thank you both for great posts and answering my questions.

Jesus dying on the cross is first in all three catagories listed above…

Other posters have explained #1 and 2 very well in MHO.

As for #3. I wake up in the morning and offer my entire day, works, joys and sufferings to Jesus. All through the day I pray the rosary which reminds me of the entire gift of his life and death and resurrection which were given for me. I have the crucifix several places around my house and often during the day I thank him for his sacrifice and kiss his feet. He is EVERYTHING to me.

  1. Very important. Taught regularly everyday at mass beginning with the readings epistles, Psalms. Gospel read by Deacon or Priest.

  2. Luke 22: 19, Perpetuating the last supper in memory of His passion for us.

  3. Trying to pray constantly, knowing I can do nothing without Him.

I would just like to add below the Prophet Malachi’s words that has come true throughout the world.

“For from the rising of the sun even to the going down,
my name is glorified among the Gentiles,
and in every place there is sacrifice,
and there is offered to my name a clean oblation,
for my name is great among the Gentiles,
said the Lord of Hosts.”
Malachi 1:11

God Bless:)

I found this part of your message funny. I was dating a Baptist girl and invited her to come to Mass with my mom and me as she was visiting. She looked at me with a surprised look and flatly stated “NO”. I was taken aback and she stated that how our Church as a large Crucifix at the front of the Church bothered her. She stated “You know, there’s more to Christianity that Jesus dying on the Cross”. I answered “Nope, that’s pretty much it”.

So I always figured Baptist didn’t think it was that important. :shrug:

Jesus came to reconcile man with God, by His passion, sacrificial death, and resurrection. The purpose of the Church is to tell us about this so that we may believe-and then help us In this new life of faith, help us to walk the talk in this restoration of relationship of with man and God so that ultimately we may live with Him in eternal happiness. What else?

What an interesting topic and great responses. So that my background is known I was raised Southern Baptist, married into Methodism and my entire family went through RCIA and were confirmed at Easter last year.

I have absolutely loved the comments about how Catholicism is a community because this is so true and if you go to a Catholic Mass you will see people of all races, all income levels and all ages including infants. I love this because it truly is a representation of Heaven (which a mass is as close as you can get on Earth to it) and God has called us all to HIS Mass.

There is without a doubt a personal aspect as well to the Mass because the physical presence (yes he is PHYSICALLY there not just in spirit his actual body and blood) of Christ is there. It is so tangible to our hearts and soul that if you have faith there is no way not to feel it. When we walk down to take the sacrament He is calling us not only as a community but individually as well because He loves and cares each and everyone one of us and we are IMPORTANT to Him.

I have the honor and pleasure to be an adorer at our Church’s chapel of perpetual adoration on Thursday nights from 11:00pm to 12:00am and many times I am by myself with the physical presence of Christ for that hour. My soul longs for that hour of prayer to be with Him and adore Him and it is so very personal and special.

The relationship between Jesus and those of the Catholic faith is so very special, so very real and so important words can’t do the relationship justice. He loves us so much he not only comes to us but calls us by name to become physically part of him at each and every Mass. It is incredibly humbling to know how mighty He is but still loves me this much!

Every aspect of Jesus’ life is important. How He lived, what He taught, how He died, how He arose, the sacraments He left, the Apostolic succession he created and the path of salvation He lays before our very feet. So glorious is God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit and the love is eternal, uncompromising and without limits.

My Protestant brothers do not worry about Christ in the Catholic Church because that is his home on earth and He is loved, adored and glorified. Do not worry about our personal relationship with Him because he calls us each by name at every Mass to become part of Him.

Be blessed.

Your whole response brought happy tears to my eyes.

In the Catholic countryside in Europe, it is common that there is a cross or a chapel at many road crossings, such as -

In the Catholic European countryside, Jesus on the cross is present almost anywhere one goes.

I’m not sure whether there is something similar in the US.

Some more:

Yes…for after all…the CC teaches the Christ who is crucified:

First of all, you would want to check out 1st Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 23. Paul says, “…but we preach Christ crucified…” Why does Paul preach Christ crucified? Doesn’t he know Jesus has been raised from the dead? Of course he does! But, he knows that it is through the power of the crucified Christ on the cross that the bonds of sin and death are broken. As Paul says in verse 24, Christ crucified is the “power of God”.
1 Cor 2:2, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Again, didn’t Paul know that Jesus had risen from the dead? Of course, he did.

Paul preaches Christ crucified because an empty cross has no power. The cross that bears the beaten, battered, and bloodied body of Jesus Christ, however, that cross is the “power of God”. This is why, we “keep Jesus on the cross,” because we, too, preach Christ crucified. The Crucifix reminds us not only of God’s power, but also His love for us - giving His only begotten Son up for suffering and death.

Also, here in this life we do not share so much in the glory of the Resurrection, as we do in the suffering of Jesus on the cross; after all, we must take up our cross daily if we are to follow Jesus, as it says in Lk 9:23.

And, we must die with Christ in order to live with Him as Romans 6:8 tells us. Where did Christ die? On the cross. The Crucifix serves to remind us of these things.

One other passage to keep in mind is Galatians 3:1, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” Did you catch that? Jesus was publicly portrayed, before their “eyes”, as being crucified. Sounds kind of like they may have been looking at a Crucifix, doesn’t it?

great verse thanks.

yeah i wonder what church she was going to. She of course is right their is more to it, but nothing without it. Are you sure it wasnt the use of a image of jesus she objected to?

agree what else is there, thanks.

You are welcome ! I would just add that you research, the churches that do this everyday you may find it very interesting, especially the breaking of the bread where they recognize Jesus. Luke 24: 13- 35.

God Bless:)

To the OP, I also come from a Baptist background, and something I wanted to convey to you that you may be unaware of, because I was unaware of it myself until I started looking into the Catholic faith. There is a fundamental difference in the worship between Baptists and Catholics. For Baptists, the Sunday church service revolves around the sermon, and our giving thanks to God and our emotional response and impact to that.

For the Mass, the most important part of the Mass is NOT the sermon/homily, but instead is Communion/Eucharist. In that part of Mass, we are ACTIVELY participating in the ORIGINAL Last Supper, Crucifixion, and Resurrection that Jesus completed 2000 years ago. God Himself, Jesus Christ, becomes truly and physically Present on the altar. And we consume Him into ourselves, His true Body and Blood. We become perfect temples to Him, and join with Him as His Body.

Everything else in the Mass is far secondary to that.

I hope that enlightens somewhat the view that Catholicism places on the cross. :thumbsup:

My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty."
Malachi 1:11

I did find that interesting however. its be awhile since i studied it but read whole chapter, it is contrasting correct torah offerings at the temple in ot] with false bad priest offerings. The word Pure offerings is a ot offerings at temple. My protestant and mesanic commentary says this reefers to millennium kingdom. But gentiles offered true sacrifices since the temple was created. I would say it is long stretch to say this refers to what Catholics do in mass.

thanks, sure helps.

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