In the mind of most people, the cross was the instrument of Yah'shua's (Jesus') death - His torture and execution stake - but in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) the word evokes a wide range of vitally important kerygmatic and theological affirmations.
The Cross cannot therefore be isolated from the total 'Messiah Event', the death and resurrection - which is the saving act of Elohim (God) (Rom.4:24-25; 6:4-5; 2 Cor.4:10-11). Despite the public disgrace and horror associated with Roman crucifixion, it did not take long for the first believers to receive, through the apostles, a sustained apologetic for the Cross along with elaborate theological reflection.
The primary witness of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) is not in the historical or archeological aspect of the cross but in its Christoloty. They are concerned with the eternal, cosmic, soteriological (salvational) significance of what happened once for all in the death of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the Son of Elohim (God), on the cross.
Theologically, the word 'cross' was used as a summary description of the gospel of salvation, that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) "died for our sins". Therefore the "preaching of the Besorah (Gospel)" is the "Davar (Word) of the cross", "the preaching of Messiah crucified" (1 Cor.1:17ff.). This is what is known as kerygma, a Greek word used by theologians to describe the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Thus the apostle glories "in the cross of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)", and speaks of suffering persecution "for the cross of Messiah". Clearly the word 'cross' here stands for the whole glad announcement of our redemption through the atoning death of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
"The Davar (Word) of the cross" is also "the Davar (Word) of reconciliation" (2 Cor.5:19). It is "through the cross" that Elohim (God) has reconciled Judahites and Gentiles, abolishing the middle wall of partition, and the penalty for sin demanded by the
Torah of mitzvot (commandments) (Eph.2:14-16). It is "through the blood of His cross" that Elohim (God) has made shalom (peace), in "reconciling all things to Himself" (Col.1:20ff.). This reconciliation is at once personal and cosmic. It comes because Messiah has set aside the bond (debt) which stood against us with its legal demands, "nailing it to His cross" (Col.2:14).
The cross, in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), is a symbol of shame and humiliation, as well as of Yahweh's wisdom and glory revealed through it. Rome used it not only as an instrument of torture and execution but also as a shameful pillory reserved for the worst and lowest. To the Israelites it was a sign of being accursed (Dt.21:23; Gal.3:13). This was the death Yah'shua (Jesus) died, and for which the crowd clamoured. He "endured the cross, despising the shame"
(Heb.12:2). The lowest rung in the ladder of our Master's humiliation was that He endured "even the death of the cross" (Phil.2:8). For this reason it was a "stumblingblock" to the Judeans (1 Cor.1:23; cp. Gal.5:11). The shameful spectacle of a victim carrying a patibulum (the crossbeam of the cross) was so familiar to His hearers, that Yah'shua (Jesus) three times spoke of the road to discipleship as that of cross-bearing (Mt.10:38; Mk.8:34; Lk.14:27).
Firther, the cross is the symbol of our echad (oneness) union with Messiah, not simply in virtue of our following His example, but in virtue of what He has done for us and in us. In His substitutionary death for us on the cross, we died "in Him" (cp. 2 Cor.4:14), and "our old sin man is crucified with Him", that by His indwelling Ruach (Spirit) we might walk in newness of life (Rom.6:4ff.; Gal.2:20; 5:24ff.; 6:14)., abiding "in Him".
This is the mystery of the cross.