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The Messages of the Three Crosses on Calvary

(94)

Sermon shared by Michael Otterstatter

March 2001
Summary: Each cross on calvary carries a message: we see a cross of redemption, a cross of rejection, and a cross of repentance.
Denomination: Lutheran
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Picture in your mind one of the drawings or paintings that you have seen portraying Christís crucifixion. If the artist based his or her rendering of Calvary on the Bibleís account you probably saw three crosses in the picture. Although there were three crosses I am assuming one was probably more prominent than the others. Whether they were empty or occupied the cross of Christ was most likely in the center of the picture. The crosses on which the two thieves were crucified often appear smaller or off the in background.
This traditional way of picturing the Friday we call Good is understandable. Of the three
crosses the one in the middle is most important. On it God sacrificed his dear boy for the sins of the world. When Isaiah drew his picture of the crucifixion with words 700 years before it happened he made Christís cross most prominent. He described Jesusí cross with many verses in careful detail and then simply stated that Jesus would be "numbered with the transgressors" at the end of one verse. (Isaiah 53:12) The two other crosses on which the thieves were crucified are naturally not given the same importance as Jesusí cross.
These verses from Lukeís gospel tell the story behind the three crosses on Calvary. There is a message in each of them for us. The cross in the middle tells us what Christ did for us. The one on the right and the one on the left also have a message. One is a cross of rejection. One is a cross of repentance. In our time together letís consider:
THE MESSAGES OF THE THREE CROSSES ON CALVARY
I. The cross of redemption
II. The cross of rejection
III. The cross of repentance
Background: These verses are well known to most of us. The words that our Savior spoke in his last hours hold deep significance for Christians. This is one part of the great spiritual battle that ended with the words, "It is finished."
Transition: In the centuries since Jesusí suffering and death the cross has become a symbol for all that he accomplished. When we look at we see the payment for our sins. The full price of our redemption. Although all of Scripture is a witness to how Christ redeemed us these verses from Lukeís gospel give us the message precisely. Through the words of Jesusí enemies, through the words of those crucified with Jesus, and through his own words we are reminded of the facts concerning the one who died on the cross in the middle.
I.
It was not an infrequent thing for Jesusí enemies to speak the truth about him in their efforts to discredit him. "The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ĎHe saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.í" With hatred in their hearts and sarcasm on their lips the rulers of the people hurled those insulting words at Jesus. Although they questioned who he was Jesus had proven who he was many times. Yes, he was the "Christ of God, the Chosen One."
That fact, that Jesus was the Christ, the Chosen one, made his cross the cross of redemption. In eternity God chose his Son to bring salvation to mankind. God planned to let his anger at sin and all the consequences of sin fall on Jesus. In the Revelation that Jesus gave to John he saw that Jesus is the "Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." (Revelation 13:8) Colossians 1:19-20 describes the cross of redemption
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