The other day a fellow chatter on Facebook objected strongly about my having a Crucifix on my profile picture on Facebook. He cited the second command from God:
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
(Exodus 20:4-6 ESV)
This certainly is a clear warning regarding any type of representation of God and his work being made by man. Continuing in the command we see that it is the bowing down and worshiping this image, statue, picture or other item which is prohibited. Not the display or possession of such an article.
Here we see Our Lord making use of an article to save the life of his wayward Israel:
And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”
(Numbers 21:8 ESV)
Here is Our Lord directing the man through which he gave his commandments to erect a pole with the representation of a serpent on it. This was to counteract the venomous bite of the serpents. Obviously from this instance and all the instructions regarding the Temple furnishings Our Lord has no problems with having an image concerning his work.
Compare this to the Lamb of God on the cross who located himself there to cure the bite of a different serpent. It is indeed comparing the lesser to the greater. The serpent was to save temporal life. The creature used by our Adversary to rob us of eternal life. Which is loathsome to look at by many people. Whom we willingly believed rather than Our Lord.
What has all this to do with a crucifix: