Today I will take you to the centre of the history. We will have a look at what happened on calvary (Golgate). Here we read that three crosses were raised. Jesus Christ was hanging on the cross in the middle, between two criminals. And we read that the cross in the middle separate those two criminals. And it is all about eternal life or eternal death!
One of the criminals loose heaven and goes to hell (hades). The other one get saved and receives eternal life…
This is the story about you and me. We all have some kind of connection to these three crosses. In the same way as the lives of those two criminals depended on Him who was hanging on the cross in the middle, our lives also depends on the same cross. The cross in t he middle decides if we will receive eternal life or not!
During history millions of people have had their lives transformed because of this message. In fact, more than 250 000 people all over the world get saved every day. Therefore we will have a look at those three crosses and the message they tell us…
1. THE CROSS OF CHRIST
Why was Jesus crucified? He did only good things! He healed the sick, delivered people from demons, raised dead people from the death, forgave sins, helped people who suffered and preached about the Kingdom of God . For 3,5 years he walked around only doing well.
How could they crucify such a good man?
A: The hardness of the human heart
The cross of Christ tells us how men`s relationship to God is. In the light of this cross we see how people are in their hearts.
The evilness in man comes from the deep of their hearts. Man is a fallen creation, separated from the close relationship with God. Without Jesus Christ every man is bounded! Even you know it or not, you are a slave without Jesus! The humanity have turned their back to God and think they are free! But they are bounded! Not on their hands and their feet, but IN THEIR HEARTS!!
They are bounded by the POWER OF SIN!
Here Paul explains how he tried to please God by doing good things. But he did not manage it, because the power of sin became to strong.
You see that the power of sin gets so strong affection on our behaviour and way of living that we are no longer capable to do the right things. We do not manage to do the will of God.
But let us get back to the question: Why did they kill Jesus?
Let me first tell you something. It is not right, according to the Bible, to say that there is goodness in the deep of every man – such as people use to say. You see that Jesus himself said that the evil origin is in the hearts of man. So it was the human nature of sin that could not stand the prescence of the Son of God.
Can you see Jesus while he is hanging there on the cross? Remember that He was totally innocent! But can you see how He is suffering?
· Can you see the nails in His hands?
· Can you see the nails in His feet?
· Can you see the crown of thorns which was pressed into His head?
· Can you see the sword which was stoked into His body?
· Can you see the crowd of people that cursed Him, and svored at Him?
· CAN YOU SEE THE PAIN, THE FEAR, THE HUNGER, THE THIRST, THE LONELINESS AND HIS PROBLEMS WITH BREATHING!!!
The Bible says that Jesus could get help from many legions of angels, and they would come to help Him in a moment! But do you know why Jesus stayed on the cross, without doing anything to get free? I`ll tell you! HIS LOVE FOR YOU AND ME!! Without the prescious love of Jesus we would have been lost forever!
But here He hanged, instead of you and me. He really went through all this pain and agony for you and me, to bring us back to God and His Kingdom.
2. THE CROSS OF THE SAVED SINNER
Let us return to Luke, chapter 23. Here we found three crosses.
The situation for the two criminals were absolutely the same for both of them. They did both
have to die because of their crime. They were under the same sentence – guilty to death!
In the same way WE are kept away from God, because of our SINS.
This is the truth about every man. WE ARE ALL GUILTY BEFORE THE LORD!!
The wages of sin is death! And this is a spiritual death – a life aparted from the living God!
But the cross of this ”saved sinner” tells us about the grace of God. Because where the sin was big, THE GRACE WAS EVEN BIGGER!!
During Jesus` life on earth He took care of many people. He took care of them as they were, without judging them. And can you see, HE TOOK CARE OF THIS CRIMINAL MAN IN THE SAME WAY!!
Can you understand this? Here is this criminal, probably a murderer and a thief. Now he is hanging two meters from Jesus. His whole life had been nothing but doing real bad things. And few minutes ago, he even svore against Jesus!
But in the next moment, he get saved!! THIS IS GRACE!!!
I want to tell you something very important… YOU DO NOT GET SAVED BY DOING GOOD THINGS!! Tell me: ”How many good things could this criminal do to get saved?” Here he was hanging on the cross, and his hands and feet were not even able to move!
But his most important organs were free! His HEART was not bounded, neither his MOUTH!
His eyes, his ears, his mouth and his heart was free. In this way he was able to see, hear, speak and believe. And this was enough for him to make a decision for Christ, to choose between eternal life or eternal death! And praise God, this man made the right choise…
In the same way as this criminal man came to the Lord, we also come to the Lord. It is the same foundation – not by works but grace only! Cause anyone who call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved!
3. THE CROSS OF THE LOST SINNER
Now think about the other criminal. He was also hanging two meters from Jesus. He had the same opportunity and ability to confess Jesus as his savior. You see, this criminal did not have to go lost! He could have been saved, just the same way as the first criminal. He was personally looking at the savior. He was watching the most important scene in the history of mankind. He was THERE when it all happened, so close to the savior… And you know, Jesus also loved this criminal – just as much as the other. The savior loved them both so high…
So the question is: Why was one of them saved, while the other one missed the salvation and got lost? You know, this man was a sinner, and just like other sinners he had the same opportunity to be saved. The grace is for everyone – everyone who RECEIVES!
Jesus died on the cross for this man too. But this criminal did not believe, he did not want to receive anything from Jesus. The first criminal saw recognized that he was a sinner, confessed the only savior – and got saved. But this man threw away the most important moment in his life by rejecting the only true savior and resqueman!
The Bible says that God is standing against the one who is stabbern, but the one who humble himself, receives His grace.
The two criminal men were alike in their sin and circumstances, but unlike in their behaviour and relationship to Jesus Christ. Here they separated… On this small edge the whole world separates!! Because there it is only one question that matters:
DID YOU RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST?
DID YOU NOT RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST?
4. THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
Now it is up to you what you will do with Jesus. You have heard the gospel today, and it is your choice…
- You can do as the last criminal, he that wasted the most precious moment in his life.
- Or you can confess your position as a sinner who needs salvation!