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.”
K. 2 Corinthians 7:10 "For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death."
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 "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.”
2. Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
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
4. Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
D. He recognized his Sinful and Lost Condition
1. He goes on to say that he was justly receiving the due reward of his deeds.
2. He realized and acknowledged his sinfulness.
3. If a person does not see himself or herself as being a sinner, lost, and condemned then he or she sees no need to be saved.
4. Psalms 51:3 "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me."
5. 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…”
E. He realized Christ’s Holiness and Lordship
1. At first reviling Christ, the penitent thief had come to see exactly who Jesus was – the spotless Lamb of God, the King of kings and Lord of Lords.
2. Hear his words, “Lord, remember me when you come into thy kingdom.”
3. Romans 10:8-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
F. He asked for Christ’s Mercy and Grace
1. He believed the Lord could and would save him and he committed himself to the Lord and trusted him to save him.