I’ve always thought it was fitting that Jesus’ crucifixion took place on a hill. His cross was raised above the pathways and bustle. You had to travel up to it, you had to look up to see it.

And that physical metaphor mirrors the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross within history. It was the single most important act that ever occurred. Everything before that was like a slowly building crescendo, all acts of God and humans leading, pulling, pointing to this moment—His death on the cross.

It was the most unbelievably loving thing Jesus ever did. To me, it was His defining hour. He went through with it, the purpose that He had come for, that He had chosen before the foundation of the earth. He accepted the cup of pain and suffering that He desperately didn’t want, and He gave us healing of body and mind, and then restoration of our relationship with God and an eternity we now can access through His love.

It’s hard to say which moment was greater, the crucifixion or the resurrection. The resurrection was where He proved Himself to be who He said He was. It put a joyful ending on the most epic story of all time, and promised us a sequel. And better than that, it promised that we would be the main characters in the new story He was writing. What a bright future we have now, stunning and beautiful like fresh lilies in the mist and the sun cresting over the horizon in the morning.

That’s why the cross I wear around my neck is empty. Jesus isn’t on the cross anymore, but alive and triumphant! But I still wear the symbol of His pain. Why?

Because none of that wonderful culmination would have occurred without the cross. And that’s why we believers look up to it and lift it up. Because it means more than anything ever could—it’s the price that Jesus knew your soul was worth and it’s how He bought you for His own.

That’s worth lifting up and looking up to. That’s worth the number one position in the roster of History’s Greatest Moments.