John 19:17-18 – And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
When Jesus was crucified, He was not crucified alone. The Scriptures tell us that two others, malefactors, were crucified with Him, and this act fulfilled the prophecy that He was numbered with the transgressors. Today I write about one of those crosses. I don’t know if it was the cross to the right or the left of Jesus. I can’t find that distinction in the Scriptures. But we DO know Jesus was crucified with two other men on that fateful day.
What do we know about that cross and the man on it? The one we examine today, like the other with him, was called a malefactor. That words, malefactor, has nothing to do with gender, but with his connection to committing evil acts – he was a doer of bad, or “mal” things. What he did, we do not know, but we DO know he was a sinner. While I am personally aware of people coming to what they knew would be the end of their life, and on what might say was their death bed they truly made a “last-minute” repentance, and accepted Jesus as their Lord, I am also aware that a greater number of people who come to that place do in their final moments what they have trained and prepared themselves to do repeatedly over the years. They reject their final opportunity to be saved. And that is precisely what happened to the man on the cross we look at today.
From the account in the four Gospels, we know this man knew about Jesus. He had heard about who Jesus was. He had heard of the signs, wonders, miracles, and healings He had performed. Yet when confronted with an opportunity to receive divine mercy, he opted for an attempt of self-justification calling on Jesus to save him and his companion while saving Himself. His life was all about him and no one else. His life was all about now and his failures of the past, and considered NOTHING of eternity and what someone else could do for him. In his self-absorption, he failed to see the truth, accept the truth, and believe the truth. Remember, the Scriptures declare that Jesus had the power to give life to anyone who believed on Him. This man did not have to work for it, pay a price for it, or find some other way to attain to it. All he had to do was believe. But he had refused to believe for so long, and so frequently with every decision in life he made, that he had trained himself to NOT believe. You face the same choice. Believing is a choice. Make the right choice today and every day and believe. There is divine power for everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God to become a son of God. Believe, my friend, believe.
Manna for Today – John 19:16-27; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27-28; Luke 23:32-43; John 1:1-14