Summary: Forgiveness, Love, Resurrection, Eternal Life
4 Views from the Cross – A Savior Sees a World That Needs Forgiveness
Luke 23:32-49 (p. 737) Easter Sunday - March 27, 2016
Edwin Thomas was the master of the Shakespearian stage in the latter half of the 1800’s. At 15 he made his debut in Richard III, as he gained acclaim he starred in Hamlet in New York City for 100 consecutive performances...Edwin Thomas was a master of tragedy on stage.
Tragedies were his trademark...but unfortunately his life would mirror his on stage persona...Edwin Thomas had a brother who was also a famous actor named John...In 1863 they performed together in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar...John portrayed the role of Brutus, Caesar’s assassin. Ironically this would foreshadow what would happen 2 years later in 1865.
John would become a real life assassin. On a crisp April night, John would enter the presidential box in Ford’s Theater and shoot President Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head with a 44 derringer. Edwin Thomas and John Wilkes both share the same last name...Booth.
We know John Wilkes booth was hunted down and shot while hiding in a barn...but Edwin Booth is another story....Shame from his brother’s crime made him quit acting...he would have become a virtual recluse except for another incident in his life...while waiting for a train on a crowded platform in a New Jersey Station...he witnessed the crowd swell and accidentally push a well dressed young man onto the track in front of an oncoming train...with no thought for his own safety...he hooked a leg off a railing...reached down are rescued the young man...This young man recognized Edwin Booth, but Booth didn’t recognize him...until he received a letter two weeks later from the Chief Secretary of the United States thanking him for saving the life of Abraham Lincoln’s son...Robert Todd...Edwin Booth returned to the stage after this incident and was buried with this letter in his pocket.
Two brothers with the same parents, same background, same passion...So what made the difference in the direction of their lives.
I believe it can be summed up in one word...CHOICES. One chose to take a life, on chose to save a life.
My dad told me this story one time about twin brothers who grew up with an alcoholic abusive father...one of the son’s studied hard, stayed in school, refused to drink, He married a Christian girl and became a doctor.
The other son started fighting early, dropped out of school, began to drink and had several broken marriages...when both were asked “How’d you end up where you are?” They both gave the same answer...“How could I end up any other way...look at my dad!”
There are certainly things that impact our lives and can shape who we are...tragedies and lucky breaks...but regardless of whether we are born with a plastic fork or a silver spoon in our mouth we will all make choices that determine whether we selfishly take a life or sacrificially save one...whether we become victims or victors.
We’ve examined who was at the cross of Jesus over the last month. Jesus’ mom and family had chosen to be there to love Him through the ordeal. The Pharisees had chosen to be there because they hated Jesus. The soldiers were there doing their jobs....and the thieves were next to Him on crosses because of a lifetime of “criminal choices.” The crowd was there to watch a spectacle.
As Jesus dies on the cross he sees the entire world next to Him and at His feet. And what does He ask from the Father as He views this world.
“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
The reason He’s there is to bring the opportunity for the world to have forgiveness. And as he dies there...it’s His prayer.
I. ARE PEOPLE CAUGHT AND IN TROUBLE
Nobody does wrong stuff hoping they get caught. When we sin...when we’re disobedient we always think “Nobody will ever know...I can get away with this.” But a lifetime of living like that and thinking like that gets you “busted.” You end up in a place you never thought you’d be.
These two criminals...thieves have been caught and as Jesus looks to His right and left He sees someone paying for a lifetime of bad choices.
The OT prophet foretold that Jesus wouldn’t just die for sinners...He would die with sinners. “He was numbered with transgressions.” (Is. 53:12)