The Beauty of the Cross
We may easily see the resurrection as a thing of beauty in the sense of the value and inspiration it brought to the discouraged followers of Christ. But how do we see the cross, the first principle and reality of the gospel, as a thing of beauty, that is, in its original historical reality as a cruel method of execution? The answer, of course, is in the fact that this ugly act of suffering became beautiful because it was vicarious (on behalf of others) and salvific (for a redemptive purpose). The ornamental beauty of a jeweled cross in a comfortable Christendom is not the biblical meaning of the beauty of the cross. The New Testament meaning of beauty is the beauty of missional purpose—the vicarious and redemptive suffering of Jesus which was the climactic act of the mission of God through his Son.
— from God Who Sends (95) by Francis Dubose