Understandings of the cross and resurrection of Jesus have evolved from the first century. For the first thousand years, Good Friday and Easter were primarily archetypal images of personal transformation and challenges to the powers that ruled this world. Then, around 1100, the “payment” understanding of the cross emerged – the notion that Jesus died to pay for the sins of the world so that we can be forgiven and go to heaven. Jesus’s death as payment for sin became dominant in much of Western Christianity. But in our time the payment understanding has ceased to have persuasive meaning and power for many millions. Thus we need to re-claim the earlier, the much more persuasive and powerful, meanings of Good Friday and Easter. At stake is Christianity’s credibility now and into the future.