Meh, either or. The cross can most certainly be charged with protection, as can most things.
The cross can be the suffering of Jesus, or the crossroads which is the meeting of the physical and spiritual words. Two roads crossing, or the representation of a crossroads in a working can be used.
These places are of importance. Specific rituals are done at the cross roads for throwing away old works, asking for help in a work or task, etc. Some people use the dirt from it. So yes, it is another symbol of power.
Simple works can be done with just getting a wooden cross, some oil, and simple praying over it. Most people would rather use the pentacle for some sort of protection charm for some reason.