Summary: Some anointed words, unparalleled in the history of man, flowed out on Mt. Calvary on that day preceding the Jewish Sabbath which happened to also be a special Sabbath, being the Passover. Those words transfigured that day from being a “Bad and Dark Frida
AT CALVARY: PARABLE OF THE GREAT DIVIDE
Some anointed words, unparalleled in the history of man, flowed out on Mt. Calvary on that day preceding the Jewish Sabbath which happened to also be a special Sabbath, being the Passover. Those words transfigured that day from being a “Bad and Dark Friday” to a “Good Friday.” They proceeded from the bruised and weakened, loving lips of no one else but the suffering-redeemer Jesus, nailed on the cross.
Suffice us to dwell today on just one of the “Saving Words” from this great Redeemer and Friend. Read with me Lk. 23: 39-43: 39One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, "Don't you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. 41Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong." 42And he said to Jesus, "Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!" 43Jesus said to him, "I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me."
It was really a “bad Friday” as insults upon insults, injury upon injuries was inflicted on that “Lamb of God” as he hung on the cross. It was not the nails that held him there on the cross. Nay, it was not the nails. Neither was it “weakness and helplessness,” that held him on the cross. It was not those arrows of “Killing words” fired at him by the leading priests and religious leaders. Neither was it Pilate’s order to crucify him, as carried out by the soldiers. Nay, it was none of those. It was LOVE. It was E.L.W.A. – Eternal Love Winning All.
Thank God for those “Saving words” from “that man of Calvary” that transfigured that day from a “Bad and Dark Friday” into a “Good Friday.” Look at the ‘Calvary Scene’ again. What do you see? Three crosses!? Three crosses with three people nailed thereon, one on each cross? Three pairs of hands outstretched? What a parable! Beyond this scene is the “Parable of the Great Divide.”
The parable of the great divide: 1. the middle cross and the other two crosses. 2. the middle cross and the cross to its left and right.
1. The middle cross and the other two crosses. To the casual passerby, on each of the crosses hang “criminals.” But nay! On the two crosses hang real criminals. On the middle cross hangs “he that was numbered among criminals.” Is.53: 9, 12. To the leading priests and religious leaders, they got rid of those rebels at last. But nay! On the two crosses hang the rebels; on the middle cross hangs the “ransom” for mankind. Look at that cross at the middle again. Notice the inscription: “JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Notice the crown of thorns - put on him by the soldiers to mock him. Take another look at that middle cross again. It was the centre of attraction and rejection on that “Good Friday.” It has remained a centre of attraction and rejection till date. It will ever remain both a centre of attraction and rejection till the resurrected LORD returns. So, it was both a centre of attraction and rejection to the two thieves crucified with him - one on his left side, and the other on his right. So it was also for all those present at the crucifixion. That is “The Great Divide.” – The cross at the centre! Are you attracted?
2. The middle cross and the cross to its left and right. While on the cross, Jesus’ hands were outstretched, perhaps, symbolically to the crosses by his left and right. The two thieves symbolically may represent the world – condemned sinners. Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! The two thieves may also symbolically represent i) the Jews, and ii) the rest of the world – the Gentiles. Note that both thieves ridiculed Jesus initially with the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders, Mt. 27:41-44, 44Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way. But, with further exposure and interaction with that middle cross, the Great Divide took place: the thief on Jesus’ left side kept to his self-righteousness; the thief on Jesus’ right side was attracted and broken in repentance. Read Lk. 23: 39-43 again (see above).
Let’s ponder on the steps the repentant thief took in response to him being attracted, by the cross, to Jesus. a) He rebuked his fellow convict for his hardened heart and failure to be attracted to that middle cross, v. 40. b) He confessed his sin and being condemned rightly, v.41.”Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong." c) He acknowledged and confessed that Jesus was innocent of any sin talk less of being crucified, v.41. d) He made a model prayer, v.32. e) He displayed a transforming faith in Jesus, v.42. f) He recognised Jesus as a King, v.42. g) His penitent prayer received such an immediate answer from the Saviour, "I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me." v. 43.