From the base of histemi; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specially), a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. Self-denial; by implication, the atonement of Christ -- cross.
see GREEK histemi
1. an upright stake, especially a pointed one (Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon).
2. a cross;
a. the well-known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves; cf. Winers RWB, under the word Kreuzigung; Merz in Herzog edition 1 ((cf. Schaff-Herzog) also Schultze in Herzog edition 2), under the word Kreuz; Keim, iii., p. 409ff. (English translation, vi. 138; BB. DD., see under the words, Cross, Crucifixion; O. Zöckler, Das Kreuz Christi (Gütersloh, 1875); English translation, Lond. 1878; Fulda, Das Kreuz u. d. Kreuzigung (Bresl. 1878); Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii. 582ff). This horrible punishment the innocent Jesus also suffered: Matthew 27:32, 40, 42; Mark 15:21, 30, 32; Luke 23:26; John 19:17, 19, 25, 31; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 12:2; θάνατος σταυροῦ, Philippians 2:8; τό αἷμα τοῦ σταυροῦ, blood shed on the cross; Colossians 1:20.
b. equivalent to the crucifixion which Christ underwent: Galatians 5:11 (on which see σκάνδαλον, under the end); Ephesians 2:16; with the addition of τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 1 Corinthians 1:17; the saving power of his crucifixion, Philippians 3:18 (on which see ἐχθρός, at the end); Galatians 6:14; τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Χριστοῦ διώκεσθαι, to encounter persecution on account of one's avowed belief in the saving efficacy of Christ's crucifixion, Galatians 6:12; ὁ λόγος ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ, the doctrine concerning the saving power of the death on the cross endured by Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:18. The judicial usage which compelled those condemned to crucifixion themselves to carry the cross to the place of punishment (Plutarch, de sara numinis vindict. c. 9; Artemidorus Daldianus, oneir. 2, 56, cf. John 19:17), gave rise to the proverbial expression αἴρειν or λαμβάνειν or βαστάζειν τόν σταυρόν αὐτοῦ, which was usually used by those who, on behalf of God's cause, do not hesitate cheerfully and manfully to bear persecutions, troubles, distresses — thus recalling the fate of Christ and the spirit in which he encountered it (cf. Bleek, Synop. Erkl. der drei ersten Evangg. i, p. 439f): Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Mark 10:21 (R L in brackets);