Summary: The Crook at the Cross lets us know that no life is beyond the love of God.
Luke 23:43 “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” / Title: “Crook at the Cross”
1. Jesus talks about heaven in Matthew 13 – 7 scenarios
a. Matt. 13:24 – Wheat and Tares – grow together
b. Matt. 13:31 – Mustard Seed – least of seeds, greatest of herbs, tree/birds
c. Matt. 13:33 – Leaven – in meal and whole loaf
d. Matt. 13:44 – Treasurer – hid in field, is found, and buys field
e. Matt. 13:45 – Pearl – seek goodly pearl, finds, and buys it
f. Matt. 13:47 – Net – gathers every kind
g. Matt. 13:51 – Householder – brings forth old and new treasures
2. Ultimate irony is that he is being crucified between two malefactors
a. Fact – something with real demonstrable existence, truth
b. The ultimate fact for a Christian is the will, the way, and the word of God
c. Factor – is one therefore who does the will, walks in the way and lives by the word of God
d. Benefactor – is one who is so blessed for doing the will, walking in the way, and living by the word of God that their cup runs over and they bless others.
e. Malefactor – therefore is one who does not do the will of God, neither walks in the way of God, nor follows the word of God.
f. Jesus would say it is one who would place his hand upon the plow and look back. That person is not fit for the Kingdom of God.
3. I have been blessed in my life to have interacted with some of the great theological minds of this day. I have been blessed to attend some of the finest theological institutions. But my true Christian learning has not been from the halls of the academy, nor from the feet of those who teach theology. My true Christian learning has come from persons who never went to the schools of higher learning, but to the school of hard knocks. They taught me something very meaningful. Not theology, but kneeology. How to get on your bended knee and get a pray through. How to have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about my troubles. He will hear your faintest cry and he will answer by and by.
a. I met an old kneeology preacher in North Carolina who revolutionized my understanding and reading of Scripture. He told me that you have to make the Bible your own. He told me that when you read scripture remember to read it from the perspective that if you don’t see a name. Put your name.
4. Therefore, the characteristics of a malefactor, sometime is like you and me.
a. Because we sometimes don’t do the will of God,
b. we sometimes don’t walk in the way of God,
c. and we sometimes don’t live by the word of God.
5. In other words, don’t look so harshly at these malefactors, because if the truth is told, any one of us could easily be a Crook at the Cross.
6. If you look closely at these Crooks two distinct attitudes emerges
a. Crook of rebellion – One of them says, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
i. The rebellious attitude is one that is selfish. It seeks to organize the resources of this world for one’s own exclusive benefit. It doesn’t care about equal distribution. It is an attitude that says it’s my way or the highway. It’s an attitude that is resident throughout the world that forces persons to abandon their way of living, learning, and loving to conform to their style. And if they don’t will use their military might to force conformity. This rebellious attitude affects nations, states, cities, organizations, and individuals. It’s the attitude that says I’m number one.
b. The other attitude is Crook of repentance – It says, Do you not fear God. We have indeed received justly for our deeds. Will you remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom?
i. The repentant attitude is that that is self-sacrificial. It realizes that only what you do for Christ will last. It realizes that for as much as you have done it unto the least of these you do it unto Christ. It realizes that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]
ii. The repentant attitude will “Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dean, thou shalt be saved.” [Romans 10:9]
iii. Scripture records the story of Jezebel. She lived her life as a testimony to hedonism and selfishness. She sought to destroy the Man of God. She defiled the things of God. She stole from others to enrich herself. She was truly evil incarnate. But the Book of Revelation 2: 21 states, that her greatest sin was that God gave her space to repent; and she repented not.