Summary: Around the cross we see the worst of Mankind but the best of God.As we study the words of Christ on the Cross let them minister to us.
Text: Luke 23:32-39
Title: The Cross is our place of forgiveness.
I think we can all agree that we see Mankind at his worst at the Cross.
We see the worst of mankind in four ways in our text.
a.We see Jesus led out with the worst kind of people.
“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him…”(V32)
b.We see Jesus led out to the worst kind of place
“When they came to the place called the Skull…”(V33)
c.We see Jesus led out to the worst kind of profanity.
“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him…the soldiers also came up and mocked him…One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him…” (V35-39)
d.We see Jesus led out to the worst kind of punishment.
“There they crucified him…”
“Crucifixion is the act of nailing or binding a living victim to a cross or stake or a tree. Already a bleeding mess from the scourging the victim hung to die of hunger and thirst and exposure, unable even to defend himself from the torture of the
the gnats and flies, which settled on his naked body and on his bleeding wounds.
Klausner, the Jewish writer, says, “Crucifixion is the most terrible and cruel death which man has ever devised for taking vengeance on his fellow-men.”
Now if we look again at the four ways we see the worst of mankind we should also see a lot of ourselves. Some of us here will have no problem identifying with the actions of mankind around the cross and some of us will so let me explain.
Notice again in our passage that he was led out with the worst of people.
In the company of murderers and violent criminals you and I are very good people. But in the company of Jesus are we not all criminals? This is why we don’t often feel like very good people when we read how Jesus responded to something negative when we know we would respond differently. When Simon Peter saw Jesus perform one of his first miracles he “fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man! (Luke 5:8). I think we all want to get closer to Jesus because it has certain advantages but the truth is that the closer you get to Jesus the more you are conscience of how bad a person you are. Ever wondered why the Apostle Paul could call himself “the worst of sinners” and believe it? Is it not because he was very close to Jesus?
Some of us can really struggle with feelings of being far from perfect and I don’t have to tell you that if we struggle with feelings of being far from perfect the Devil will only make it worse.
Notice that Jesus was led out to the worst of places.
How many of us have gone to some really bad places in our past? Now I don’t mean some bad restaurant. I define bad places as places we don’t tell our parents about.Bad places don’t have the Ten Commandments posted on the wall.
Now if someone professes to be a Christian and still goes to bad places don’t we take Jesus with us? I think as we go places on the Internet or Cable T.V. we need to ask ourselves ” Would Jesus approve of this place I am going to? Would Jesus go see this movie?
Notice Jesus was led out to the worst kind of profanity.
How many of us have said some really bad things about Jesus in our past? How many of us grew up taking the name of Jesus in vain? How many of us joined in with others who sneered, mocked or insulted anything to do with Jesus?
Notice that Jesus was led out to the worst kind of punishment.
If we could be honest we would all say we have hurt Jesus in some way. We may not have physically put him on the Cross but from what we have already looked at we have often hurt his character and his cause.
Now if we agree that we see mankind at his worst at the Cross then we should also be certain to see God at his best.
For the next several weeks as we look at the words of Jesus on the Cross we’ll see God at his best. Hopefully by Easter you and I will have a greater appreciation for the Cross of Christ.
Here in our scripture passage we find the first word Jesus said on the Cross.
“Jesus said (continually prayed), Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (V34)
We see God at his best in the Cross of Christ because the cross is the place of forgiveness.