Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Three Crosses at Golgotha

The 3 crosses

Luke 23:26-49 
“Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

In the passage, we read of the reactions of people to the crucifixion of Christ. Review these reactions. What would have been your reaction if you were part of the crowd? What is your reaction now?

Let us for a few minutes more concentrate our gaze on the three Crosses at Golgotha. Let us begin with the Cross in the centre. On this Cross hung, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible testifies that He committed no sin. Even those who tried to judge Him in their court said “We find no fault in Him.” When He asked His enemies the Pharisees, the Scribes and the Sadducees, for which of His sins they condemn Him, they answered “for no sin,” - because there were none. Then why should He die the death of a criminal?

He was dying FOR sin. He died for the sins of others. The Bible put this fact in many words and ways – Second Corinthians 8:9; John 3:16; Second Corinthians 5:21.

On the either side of His Cross are two criminals. Let us see the one as he rebukes Jesus. He was like the rest of the crowd below – Are You really who You say You are? Are You truly the Son of God? If You are, save Yourself and us! He did not have any respect whatsoever for the Son of God, who did no sin, and yet He was dying for sin. He bad-mouthed God. He eventually died but he died IN his sin.

On the other side is another criminal; he was hanging on the cross for the sins he committed and he was fully aware of his misdeeds. He recognized in Jesus, a Saviour, who could save him, not from the power of sin now but from the punishment of sin. He turned to Jesus for redemption and salvation. Let us read his words in verses 42-45. “But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”” He eventually died, but he died TO sin.

Jesus is still the dividing line. All people in the world and all who have died belong to either side of the Cross. You either have recognized your sinfulness and turned to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation; then you die TO sin or You are still in your sins, and looks to blame God for all that has come upon you. You have not yet repented of your sins and thus are still doing like the other criminal. If you die today, you will die IN your sins and will receive the punishment justly for your sins.

What is your decision today? On which side are you?

God bless you all.

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