Summary: Today I want to speak to you about the three crosses. Most of the time we only focus on the one cross and rightly so, because it is the cross that represents redemption, but we need to remember that there were three crosses.
Today I want to speak to you about the three crosses. Most of the time we only focus on the one cross and rightly so, because it is the cross that represents redemption, but we need to remember that there were three crosses. I want to remind you that there were three men hanging on crosses that day; there were three men that were naked and thirsty; there were three men who were suffering from the heat and having to listen to the sneers of the crowd. There were three men on the same kind of crosses who looked the same but their crosses were totally different. Three men dying the same way but totally different in their reaction to the cross they were bearing.
The man on the left of Jesus was in total rebellion on a cross of bitterness. The man in the center, the savior of the world, Jesus Christ was on the cross of redemption and sacrifice. The man on the right was on a cross of repentance. There is a lesson for us to learn today because each one of you will be on a cross at some point in your life. Each one of us will face these three crosses at some point in our lives. How will you and I react to the cross in our lives?
Let’s look at the first cross the cross on the left which is the cross of rebellion and bitterness. Why was this man so angry, why was he hurling insults at the Savior, why was he cursing the Savior with his final breath? Maybe he was raised in the slums of Jerusalem or maybe he was forced to steal food at a young age so he wouldn’t go hungry. We aren’t told why he became a harden criminal or a thief. Maybe he had godly parents and just started running with the wrong crowd and one thing led to another. What we do know is that he picked up a cross in life; what we do know is that he was on the left side of Jesus.
On that day he was very rude on that day he was very hateful. On that day sin had made him bitter and angry at life and even at God. Even in death vulgar words poured forth from his lips. He could see the bloody Christ; he could see the Savior bleeding and dying. We read about it and we sing about it but his eyes beheld His blood. He could hear the voice of the Savior as He prayed “Father forgive them.” He could see Mary the mother of Jesus standing at the foot of the cross. Yet the Scripture says that he was so hardened and calloused in his heart that not even the bleeding Savior; not even the broken twisted body of Christ; not even the prayers of Jesus could melt his cold, calloused heart. He made mockery of everything sacred and clean. His sneer will never be forgotten in heaven when he said “If you are the son of God save yourself and save us.” He was an angry and very bitter man. His cross was the cross of rebellion; his cross was the cross of bitterness. The greatest chance he ever had was at the end of his life. Just fifteen feet away was the Savior of the world. He had an opportunity to be forgiven but he was so full of anger and bitterness; for you see the cross does that to some people.
There are things in life that harden people. There are things in life that happen to us and we are forced to bear a cross that we didn’t choose. Sometimes when life throws a cross on our back it’s easy to become bitter. It’s easy to become like this man instead of bearing that cross with dignity you begin to bear it with bitterness. I have known people who have become bitter because of the cross they had to bear in life. Something happen in life and they didn’t know why it happened and instead of bearing that cross with faith and dignity they become bitter at the Savior. Do you know what this man was really saying, “I’m angry at you because I am hanging on this cross.” “I’m bitter at you and hateful toward you Jesus and I am cursing you with my dying breath because I’m carrying a cross and you could do something about it. Why has this happen to me, why am I having to deal with this, you are the Savior and you could get me off of this cross?” “Lord, why have you allowed this sickness in my life”; “Lord why have you allowed my finances to be like they are”; “Lord why have you allowed, etc.?”