Summary: Palm Sunday Message: Three Crosses stood at Calvary. On either side of the Cross of Redemption was the Cross of Rejection and the Cross of Reception. What side of the Cross of Redemption are you on?

Today is Palm Sunday and we’re all under the order of our Governor to stay home and keep our distance from one another. That is why we are putting this service online so you can still worship with your church even though we are physically separated. I hope you all are still trying to stay connected with one another even though we are separated.

Some pastors are worried that people will get use to being away from church. I do not worry about that. I believe that once we can go back to meeting in each other’s presence, God’s people will be so hungry for fellowship in each other’s physical presence, we will see numbers here at Rosemont that we have not seen in a long time. But while we are apart, I pray that you will take this time and draw closer to the Lord and closer to your family.

Today I want to talk to you about the cross of Jesus. And not just the cross of Jesus alone, but about the two other crosses and the two others that were crucified with Jesus.

The cross has long been a symbol of Christianity. Today we see it in the various images of the church, the marking of the cross on various books and implements we use in Christian worship. We see it in make-up of our jewelry. It has become quite the object of beauty to us over the years. It has not always been that way. The symbol of the cross has only been use to represent Christianity only after the fourth century, when the last of those who had seen the horrors of a real crucifixion had died off.

The cross to many in the early church was a horrible instrument of a quite torturous death. To witness one dying a cross (which was done very publicly) was terrible experience, leaving one scarred for life, never wanting to be reminded of what they had witnessed.

But here we are, approximately 2,000 years later, remembering what happened that fateful day, on a little hill, just outside the gates of Jerusalem, called Calvary. That day there were three crosses. Jesus was hung on the middle cross, the cross of Redemption. On one side was the cross of Rejection and other side was the cross of Reception. The criminal who died on one side went to eternal torment in Hell, the criminal on the other side went to paradise with Jesus. The question we are looking to answer today is: “What side of the cross are you on?”

Luke 23:32–43

Opening Illustration: On December 6, 1829 two men, George Wilson and James Porter, robbed a United States mail carrier in Pennsylvania. Both men were subsequently captured and tried. On May 1, 1830 both men were found guilty of six indictments which included robbery of the mail "and putting the life of the driver in jeopardy." On May 27th both George Wilson and James Porter received their sentences: Execution by hanging. The sentences were to be carried out on July 2nd, 1830.

James Porter was executed on schedule. George Wilson was not. Shortly before the set date, a number of Wilson’s influential friends pleaded for mercy to the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, on behalf of their friend. President Jackson issued a formal pardon. The charges resulting in the death sentence were completely dropped. Wilson would have to serve only a prison term of twenty years for his other crimes.

Incredibly George Wilson Refused The Pardon! There were those who wished to force the pardon on George Wilson. The case reached the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the following in the decision:

"A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential; and delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.”

In other words, George Wilson committed a crime. He was tried and found guilty. He was sentenced to be executed. A presidential decree granted him a full pardon. But George Wilson chose rather to refuse that pardon. The courts concluded that the pardon could not be forced upon him. George Wilson Chose to Die! [1]

Now that you have heard George Wilson’s amazing story, you are probably saying: "How could anyone refuse a pardon for the death sentence? The man was a fool!" What would you say if someone told you that many were refusing a pardon? A pardon that would result in spending eternity in the presence of God rather than eternal separation from God in Hell.

That fateful day, around two thousand years ago, there were three Crosses erected on a little hill called Calvary. Calvary is the Latin name for the Greek Kranion which means skull. It’s the Greek word that we get our medical term cranium from. The Aramaic word was Golgotha.

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