“When 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” (Luke 23:33).
Jesus, crucified on the middle cross, vicariously dying for the sins of all mankind. Two criminals, representative of the human race, hung on crosses on each side of Him. These three crosses each represent:
2) The cross of repentance. The other criminal represents those who repent of their sins and place their faith in God’s redemptive plan. He came to realize that he and the other lawbreaker deserved the death penalty and was quite frank when he spoke: “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). His faith is humbly expressed in these words: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Our Lord’s word to this criminal, one of His seven recorded last sayings, brought eternal hope to the repentant criminal as well as spiritual hope to millions throughout the centuries, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” This criminal died to sin.
3) The cross of redemption. On the middle cross Christ died once for all time for all people. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19,20). Peter, a witness to these things, stated, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18a). Our Saviour died for sin.
Today is a day of decision. For many it will be a reaffirmation of a decision to follow Christ previously made. This evening at our Good Friday service we will remember and worship our Redeemer.
This Good Friday let us, through faith with thankful hearts, accept God’s only solution for our sin problem. Let us faithfully live for the One who died for us.
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, should’st die for me?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, thank You for the record in Scripture that makes us more than just curious bystanders during the crucifixion of Your precious Son. Jesus’ recorded conversation with the repentant criminal helps us to see how immediate redemption for all humanity was being provided through His death on the cross. Thoughtful reflecting on this day brings about grief and sadness as we recall the rejection, pain, and suffering Christ underwent. In Luke 22:53 Jesus spoke to those who seized Him in the garden as a time when darkness reigns. Though He was speaking figuratively in the garden the next afternoon literal darkness fell upon the earth as He breathed His final breath. Surely all hope dissipated for those who stood by our Lord as He hung on the cross. But I’m so glad we don’t have to wait for the rest of the story to unfold since we know, through Scripture, the final outcome and the way of salvation Christ made possible for us. Thank you, Father, that You loved the world so much that You gave Your one and only Son to die for our sins, that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We call upon the Lord Jesus to save us, cleanse us from our sins, and to indwell our hearts. Amen.
“At The Foot of The Cross” Video Kathryn Scott
“Love Held Him To The Cross” Video Harvesters Quartet
“It Is Finished” Video Gaither Vocal Band
“The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference” Video Gaither Vocal Band
“The Old Rugged Cross” Video Gaither Vocal Band
The four gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. Most of this material deals with the 3½ year period of His ministry. However an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels deal with the period from Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of material dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.
Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.
- Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
- Jesus Clears the Temple: Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46
- Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
- Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Matthew 21:28-23:36; Mark 12:1-40; Luke 20:9-47
- Greeks ask to see Jesus: John 12:20-26
- The Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6
- The Last Supper: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
- Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room: John 13-17
- Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
- Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12
- Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Matthew 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25; John 18:13-19:16
- Jesus is crucified and buried: Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30
- The glorious resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18
Worship leader: Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18
Congregation: This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. Acts 2:23
Worship leader: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Congregation: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
Worship leader: By abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:15-17
Congregation: He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:7-9
Worship leader: For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19,20
Congregation: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13,14
All: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3