Summary: The Thief on the cross
FAMOUS LAST WORDS: SALVATION
This morning we again approach the cross and stand on holy ground as continue with our sermon series, “Famous Last Words.”
The world likes to immortalize the final words of the rich and famous. The world likes to lift up their final comments as being lofty and noble. But there are no words that have ever been spoken on earth that can match the eternal wisdom and power that comes from the final words of Jesus Christ at the cross.
For six hours Jesus hung on the cross and in those six hours He made seven final statements that are filled with immense eternal power. Seven times He spoke from the cross. Seven times he pushed up on his feet to gasp for breath and strength. Seven times He spoke words that are to this day still filled with life changing power.
Every breathe was a struggle and of all the things that He could have said from the cross, these are the final words He chose for us to hear. And hear them we must.
But to hear the final words of Jesus, we must go to the cross. To experience the power of Christ’s words on your life, you must go to the cross. It is only at the cross that you can hear the final and famous last words of Jesus. It is impossible to bypass the cross of Jesus Christ and not hear His heart piercing words.
And today, in the great and mighty name of Jesus Christ, I challenge you to hear His last words regarding salvation and eternal life, and to let His words, His eternal words, fill your soul with the wisdom and might and power of the Holy Spirit.
John 19:17And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. NKJV
Luke 23:35 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." 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." 38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." NKJV
THE PICTURE OF THE CROSS
Let’s begin this morning with this picture from the cross.
In the theater of your mind, picture three crosses. See Jesus as Roman soldiers lift Him
up toward the heavens as earth rejects Him. On either side of Him, two other crosses are also lifted up as Jesus is crucified between two criminals.
See Him as He hangs on the middle cross between two thieves. See Him with the crown of thorns. See the inscription that stands out above Him proclaiming for all to see that this man is the King of the Jews.
See the crowd that has gathered before His cross and hear their mockery and ridicule as they scorn the man on the middle cross. They said;
“He saved others but He can’t save Himself.” Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe." (Mark 15:31-32)
Hear His answer to their mockery and scorn as He cries out over and over, “Father, forgive them…”
THE MAN ON THE MIDDLE CROSS
See this man on the middle cross. Do you see Him? It is imperative that you see this man.
And as we behold this man on the middle cross, there are two vital matters that immediately capture our attention.
First, who is this man on the middle cross? You cannot bypass this question. You have to determine for yourself who you believe this man to be.
He claimed to be the Israel’s Messiah
He claimed to be the Son of God
He claimed to be the King of an eternal kingdom
Who is this man on the middle cross? It is a question that demands your answer.
What you believe about this man on the middle cross will ultimately determine the outcome of your eternal destiny.