Q: Does “the offense of the cross” in Galatians 5:11 have anything to do with Jewish believers who do not wear or use crosses?
A: Concerning “the offense of the cross,” in the context of the New Testament, this was not used as an outward symbol of the new faith since in those early days it was the fish that was used. When Paul talks about the offense of the cross, he is not talking about a visible symbol, but the concept of a dead Messiah. The concept of a dead Messiah was the offense of the cross to the Jewish people. Only much later did the church begin using the cross as the outward symbol but, unfortunately, since the fourth century, the cross was used as the symbol of Jewish persecution. Keep in mind, the final authority must be the New Testament, which does not command us to use the cross as our outward symbol. Because the cross has been used so negatively in Jewish history, most Jewish ministries in any form and in all situations avoid using the cross, even Jewish ministries that are sponsored by regular denominations. While for the Gentile believer the cross is the symbol of Christ's death, for the average Jewish person, it has become a symbol of the shedding of Jewish blood through centuries of persecution. Messianic congregations that insist on a balanced role between teaching and Jewishness will not use crosses either.