When a group of churches advertised their Easter celebration, no reference was made to the cross. The omission was deliberate. One church official explained, “The cross carries too much cultural baggage.”

The cross has always been offensive to some. The apostle Paul explicitly mentioned that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Cor. 1:18). To be saved eternally by the unjust execution of a Jew centuries ago—what an offense to human pride, goodness, and self-sufficiency! Without that cross, however, the empty tomb would be meaningless. That is why Paul gratefully exclaimed, “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

Every year the Easter season brings great blessing to believers. As we remember our Lord’s death on the cross, our hearts are filled with love and gratitude. But we don’t linger on that Palestinian hillside where death seems to have triumphed. We hasten on to resurrection morning with its jubilant hallelujahs of victory. All the events of Holy Week are woven into an awesome tapestry of grace. The blood-stained tree and the empty tomb belong together. To leave the cross out of Easter is a fatal omission.