Summary: A sermon examining how people respond to Jesus' offer of salvation.
Three Crosses On Calvary’s Hill
The Cross is the symbol of the Christian faith. Churches and homes are decorate with it. Some people have a decal of a cross on their car. Many wear a cross as jewelry.. .The cross is so prominent in daily life that we rarely pay any attention to it. It may be that in all actuality we have forgotten what it truly represents. Society has so glamorized the Cross that we fail to remember the pain, the agony and the cruelty of the Cross where Jesus died. George F. MacLeod said - Jesus was crucified, not in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves.
The cross was a means of torture, humiliation and death. These days when men are executed in the USA, the common method is lethal injection. In times past they used firing squads, electric chairs and a hangman’s noose. None of these methods of execution come close to being as torturous as the horror of crucifixion.
There was an execution site just outside of Jerusalem called Golgotha. One day, there were 3 crosses that held 3 very different men. One man was the Son of God and the Savior of the World. On either side of the Savior hung two thieves. As we go through these verses, I want to examine how each of these men responded to Jesus.
But before we do that, let me just say that the Cross in the middle should have been mine! The Florida Boys used to sing a song that said just that:
"I never heard the hammer, I never felt the nails"
"I never saw the angry mob curse as the prisoner fell"
"They never knew this sinner"
"I was some other place and time"
"The choice was all His"
"But the truth was and is..."
"The cross in the middle, should have been mine"
May we never forget the fact that Jesus was on that cross because of you and me. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
This morning I want us to take a trip to Calvary. I want to examine the scene on that hill the day that Jesus was crucified. There was a large crowd gathered around to witness the execution of 3 men who had been sentenced to die by the Roman Government. As a result there were three crosses standing on that hill. As we consider the events of that day you will find that each cross represented something different. I would submit to you that:
i. There Was A Cross Of Rejection
ii. There Was A Cross Of Reception
iii. There Was A Cross of Redemption
On Calvary's Hill, Jesus was there fulfilling God's perfect plan of redemption. Through the events that took place, one of those sinners trusted Christ as his Savior. The other mocked and ridiculed Him and rejected the opportunity to be saved. One man died and went to Heaven, the other died and went to Hell. Each person here must decide how they will respond to Jesus. Just like these men you will choose whether to accept Him or to reject Him. If you accept Him, you will receive forgiveness and eternal life. If you reject Him, you will die lost in your sins and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
- There is much that we can learn from these two men, I want to walk through these verses and preach on the subject "Three Crosses On Calvary's Hill". Let's begin by examining the fact that:
I. ON CALVARY'S HILL, THERE WAS A CROSS OF REJECTION - v39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
The scriptures identify this man as a "malefactor" or a thief. He was a criminal who had been sentenced to die for his crimes. But that was just the earthly repercussions of his earthly deeds. Whether he knew it or not, he was under a death sentence spiritually speaking. He was dying physically but he was already dead in trespasses and sins.
We all were in a similar situation. Before Christ we were dead spiritually speaking! That is the case for all of us... we are all guilty! Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ----- Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
This man was guilty and would soon step out into eternity and face the wrath and judgment of Almighty God. Sadly, he did not realize the fact that the Door of Heaven was right there next to Him. Instead of seeing Jesus for who He was, this man blasphemed His name. He was suffering the agony of being crucified, he was in immense pain and he knew that death was imminent. He was not sorry or repentant of his sins, he was just focused on his current situation. Like so many throughout history, he had and earthly perspective instead of an eternal one! As a result he looks and Jesus and says …“If thou be Christ, save thyself and us”. What he did not realize is that is what Jesus was doing!