Summary: Christ speaks to us from the cross and gives us the assurance that we will spend eternity with Him.
a. This week we are continuing in our series The Gospel in the Seven Sayings of the Cross.
b. This morning I want to focus on the Christ’s second statement made from the cross.
c. Read Luke 23:42-43.
d. Today’s world is riddled with temptations. The greatest temptation, though, is to ignore the plea of crucified and resurrected Savior who offers so much more than this world ever can.
In Southern Mexico lies the Cueva de Villa Luz, or Cave of the Lighted House. As you make your way to the cave you walk through a veritable paradise of tropical birds and lush rain forest. Underwater the cave is fed by 20 underground springs, beautiful watercourses which teem with tiny fish. The cave itself is home to spectacular rock formations and beautiful ponds. The environment is inviting. Yet accept the invitation and you’ll soon be dead. You see, the Cueva de Villa Luz is filled with poisonous gases.
Temptation is just like this. It presents itself to us as something inviting, attractive, life-giving. Yet in reality it’s poisonous and toxic. (Source: Scott Higgins. Information on the Cave obtained from National Geographic, May 2001.)
f. Why succumb to the temptations of this world when Christ offers so much more?
2. Neither Chance nor Coincidence
a. It was not enough that our Savior, the Son of God, was being crucified, which was the worst form of public execution the Romans used and a practice that brought shame on the Jews from Old Testament times. Adding insult to injury, He was crucified with common thieves.
b. But, this was neither a matter of chance, nor was it a coincidence. It was pre-ordained and had been prophesied centuries earlier.
c. 700 years before the crucifixion, Isaiah prophesied this very thing happening.
d. Read Isaiah 53:12—Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
(1) Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many —“I will place him among the great conquering ones of the earth”—an accommodation to human modes of thought analogous to the frequent comparison of Christ’s kingdom with the kingdoms of the earth.
(2) because he poured out his soul to death—This expression emphasizes the duration and the willingness of His sufferings.
(3) Numbered with the transgressors—This is the key phrase in this passage. It could be said He was reckoned with transgressors. He was condemned as a “blasphemer” (Matt. 26:65), crucified with lawbreakers (Luke 23:32), called “that deceiver” (Matt. 27:63), and regarded generally by the Jews as accursed.
(4) yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors—The “intercession for transgressors” began on the cross with the compassionate words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). But it continues to this day, and will continue until the last day (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
e. His position on the cross, in the company of thieves, further served to show that He was despised and rejected.
f. Read Isaiah 53:3—He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(1) He was despised—Men’s contempt for Him was shown partly in the little attention they paid to his teaching and partly in how they treated Him on the night and day before His Crucifixion.
(2) and rejected—He never had at any time more than a “little flock” attached to him. Of these, after a while, “many went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Some, who believed him, would only come to him by night (John 3:2). All the “rulers” and great men distanced themselves from him (John 7:48). At the end, even his apostles abandoned Him, and fled.
(3) one from whom men hide their faces—Men turned their faces from him when they met him, would not see him, would not recognize him.
3. He Demonstrated He Was God
a. Despite all this, He demonstrated He was His Father’s son; He demonstrated He was God. He demonstrated it not only from the cross, but also before He was led to the cross.
b. He prayed for forgiveness for His enemies as we read last week in Luke 23:34—Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
c. He personally offered salvation to the repentant thief and who but God could do that? Mark even records in 2:7 the words of the Scribes some time prior to the crucifixion when in Capernaum the paralyzed man was lowered through the roof where Jesus was preaching, and after Jesus pronouncing his sins forgiven said, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”