Summary: AS WE LOOK TO CALVARY AT THE DRAMA THAT WAS PLAYED OUT UPON THAT HILL, HOW MANY CROSSES DO YOU SEE? WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EACH OF THESE CROSSES? LET US CONSIDER THE FOUR CROSSES OF CALVARY.
FOUR CROSSES OF CALVARY
INTRODUCTION: THIS MORNING AS WE LOOK TO CALVARY AT THE DRAMA THAT WAS PLAYED OUT UPON THAT HILL, HOW MANY CROSSES DO YOU SEE? WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EACH OF THESE CROSSES? LET US CONSIDER THE FOUR CROSSES OF CALVARY.
I. THE CROSS OF REBELLION AND REJECTION – VERSE 39
A. Two malefactors or criminals were crucified with Christ, one on each side. At first according to Matthew and Mark’s gospels both thieves in the madness of the hour and in despair joined in with the crowd as they leveled reproaches at Christ hanging upon the cross.
B. After watching Christ and hearing His prayer for others, the one thief hanging beside Christ is unrepentant and began to use insulting and injurious language toward Christ.
C. The word "railed" means to utter reproaches; to scoff; to use insolent and reproachful language.
D. As He rails Christ there is no admission of personal guilt. There is no expression of regret or sorrow for deeds done. The only regret is the regret and anger that he has gotten caught.
E. Listen to what he says. “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us."
F. This thief wanted Jesus to be the Christ and to save Himself as long as Jesus also saved him and his companion from death on the cross.
G. This is all that he wants Christ for – a ticket out of trouble! To escape the cross and death, to go on living his depraved life.
H. He is the picture of the hardness of men who refuse to repent of their sins.
I. An unrepented sin is a continued sin.
J. Billy Graham (1918-) “If your sorrow is because of certain consequences that have come on (you or) your family because of your sin, this is remorse, not true repentance. If, on the other hand, you are grieved because you also sinned against God and his holy laws, then you are on the right road.”
II. THE CROSS OF REPENTANCE AND RECEPTION – VERSES 40-42
A. On the other side of Christ in stark contrast to the unrepentant thief is another thief who demonstrates true repentance and faith.
B. Luke 23:40-42 (quickview)  "But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do not you fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into thy kingdom."
C. He revered or feared God and Judgement
1. The penitent thief looks to the other thief and remonstrates him saying, “Don’t you have any fear of God? In a few hours we shall be before Him and have to face His judgement bar.”
3. People obey the law for one of two reasons: they either love God or fear punishment. When both of these break down, the result is an environment that breeds violence, poverty, and anarchy. - Jack Kemp