Three Crosses – Part Two

One curtain was torn; one Savior died; three crosses were used.

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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.

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When Jesus was crucified, there were two other men crucified with Him.  They were called “malefactors,” a word that means “doers of wrong, law breakers, doers of evil, that which is malicious or malevolent.”  On one side was a man who was totally selfish, self-centered, seeking to justify himself, always looking for a way out paid for by someone else.  On the other side was a man, who like the first, was a criminal of some sort.  But his heart was one that sought mercy.  Both wanted to live.  Both wanted to be delivered.  One sought for his own privilege and self-centered reasons, the other sought for mercy.  There is a difference.  A person who is truly seeking for mercy acknowledges his/her personal responsibility for their predicament, the wrong he/she did, and the justice he/she should receive.  And in that acknowledgement, he/she simply asks for mercy; they do not demand anything.  That was the heart and attitude of the second offender crucified with Christ.

From Luke 23 we can see his attitude that signifies a cry for mercy.  When the other malefactor had tried to press Jesus into delivering him, look at the words of the one we consider today.  “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  Here is true mercy.  Learn to recognize this is your daily life.  it is important to you.

The Scriptures declare that God’s mercy endures forever.  But in that, know that God sees the heart and cannot be deceived by man.  While on the cross, Jesus hung there between two criminals, ready to extend mercy to both, but only one received it, for only one cried out for it from a heart truly seeking mercy.  In this scenario, learn of the heart of God.  While He truly desires that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance, thereby receiving that which mercy has purchased, He does indeed recognize the true call for mercy and that which sounds like a call for mercy, but is in reality, a call for the kind of deliverance that releases one back into that which brought judgment.  It is the picture of “the dog returning to his own vomit.”  Jesus clearly recognized the difference, and He responded in kind.  Learn from the Master, and be led by His Spirit. 

Manna for Today – John 19:16-27; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27-28; Luke 23:32-43; John 1:1-14

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