The smiley emoji no longer means what it used to mean.
If you’re a person over 30, the smiley emoji says that you’re friendly.
But if you’re under 30, the smiley emoji says you’re passive-aggressive.
On the outside it says: “I like you”; but on the inside it says: “I hate you.”
So how can we ever know what a person is really saying?
Words and symbols are not enough. It’s actions that count.
That’s why Jesus says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And then Jesus acts on his words by dying for us.
The cross might be a symbol of love. But it’s only a symbol of love because of Christ’s action on that cross.
And just like the smiley emoji changed its meaning, Jesus forever changed the cross’s meaning from a symbol of shame to a symbol of love.