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Summary: Taking a look at the two other men on crosses, one to the left of Christ and one to the right. What do they represent and what can we lear from them?

Easter Sunday Service – March 27th 2005

“Two men and a King”

We would like to welcome you to the First Baptist Church of Tawas City, we are very glad you are here today. If you are visiting, please fill out a Visitor Card located in the back of the pew’s, and place them into the offering plate as it is passed.

If you have a prayer request or a need, please see any of the Elders or myself after the service and we would be glad to help.

Our scripture reading today is from the book of Luke. The title of today’s message is “Two men and a King”.

We may already be familiar with the story of the cross. We may even know all of the Stations of the Cross, or the day of Christ’s passion, the 12 hours that led to His crucifixion.

Today we are going to take a look at the two men who were crucified along with Jesus that horrendous day.

Today we will examine in contrast the two men who hung on either side of a King.

Scripture Reading - Luke 23:32-43

PRAYER

I. What is crucifixion?

a. Explain the Roman process (Haley’s Bible Handbook p. 682)

We know that the crucifixion was Rome’s punishment for slaves, foreigners, and criminals who were not Roman citizens. It was the most agonizing death a cruel age could devise. We know that nails were driven into the hands and feet, and the victim was left to suffer in pain for 2 to 6 days before death.

Death could come by dehydration, excessive bleeding, starvation, difficulty breathing, or by any combination of these.

In Jesus’ case, it was over in 6 hours, when Jesus declared that “It is finished” and willfully gave up His spirit.

b. Explain who was being crucified this day.

On this particular day, three men were destined to meet their end. Two of them were thieves, and there was Jesus.

Luke 23:32 – 33

“32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left.”

II. Describe the two men

a. They deserved death because of their sin

When we read the account of the crucifixion, we see so many different elements at work. We see cruelty, lies, pain, suffering, torture. We can imagine Satan gloating throughout the ordeal. Perhaps even believing he was victorious over Jesus, having a hand in ending His life on earth before He could rule. Not fully understanding why Jesus came, or why it was God’s will for Him to die.

But we also see that through it all, Jesus through the Holy Spirit fulfilled God’s will in His life and through His death.

Jesus stood firm against the attacks, completing the task for which He was born.

We know why Jesus was there that day. But the scriptures do not give us too many details about the other two men, except for the fact that they were thieves.

Perhaps they knew each other, or maybe they befriended each other while awaiting their execution. We don’t know.

But this event illustrates a spiritual truth that sometimes is overshadowed by the horrific events which took place that day to our Lord.

The illustration is of the average man having to pay for his sins in life with his death.

This is where we are today because of the fall of man. Because of sin, we all must die.

There is no avoiding death. For the scriptures tell us;

Hebrews 9:27

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

There they were, in their last hours together, Jesus and two thieves, one to His right and one on His left.

b. Both mocked Christ

As if things weren’t painful enough, doubt, fear, confusion, pain, suffering, then there were the insults.

Those who passed by hurled insults at Jesus, shaking their heads and saying,

“YOU WHO ARE GOING TO DESTROY THE TEMPLE AND BUILD IT IN THREE DAYS, SAVE YOURSELF! COME DOWN FROM THE CROSS IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD!” (Matthew 27:39-40)

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.

“HE SAVED OTHERS,” they said, “BUT HE CAN’T SAVE HIMSELF! HE’S THE KING OF ISRAEL! LET HIM COME DOWN FROM THE CROSS, AND WE WILL BELIEVE HIM. HE TRUSTS IN GOD. LET GOD RESCUE HIM NOW IF HE WANTS HIM, FOR HE SAID, ‘I AM THE SON OF GOD.” (Matthew 27:41-43)

Rulers sneered at Him. People stood watching, they mocked Him relentlessly in His suffering.

“HE SAVED OTHERS; LET HIM SAVE HIMSELF IF HE IS THE CHRIST OF GOD, THE CHOSEN ONE.”

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