THE THREE CROSSES OF CALVARY BUT ONLY ONE WAY TO SALVATION!
Over 2000 years ago, there were three crosses standing on a hill called Calvary. These three crosses had a loud and clear message then, and they still speak to us today:
1. REBELLION – the state of mankind
2. REPENTANCE – the need of men
3. REDEMPTION – the solution for all
As we approach Easter, let’s look at each of them.
1) The first cross represents the Cross of REBELLION
Luke 23:39 tells us that ‘Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ [Messiah], save Yourself and us.”‘ The sad truth is that from the very beginning of time, men and women everywhere have rejected God, preferring to follow their own desires and to run things their own way – that is a way without God. This rebellious, self-sufficient attitude is what the Bible calls ‘sin’, and guess what? We ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). But it is also important to remind ourselves that God has created us with a free will, and whatever choices we make today will certainly affect our tomorrow. This man hanging on the cross next to Jesus bluntly demonstrated his rebellion against God, and rather than choosing forgiveness and eternal life, he deliberately chose to blaspheme and turn his back on the Son of God – and consequently he rejected eternal life. The Bible makes it clear that we are all rebellious by nature: ‘none of us is righteous, no not one!’ But praise God that He revealed to each and every one of us the message of life, leading us to experience a free salvation so great that we in turn, through our personal life, can proclaim God’s goodness not just at Easter time but every single day.
2) The second cross represents the Cross of REPENTANCE
But as the first one hurled insults at Jesus, the other one rebuked him and said ‘Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ It is important to remind ourselves that Jesus was suffering in a way that we cannot begin to grasp or even partially understand, but so was this criminal. And in the middle of this agonising torture of the cross, a dialogue took place, and what Jesus did next was a wonderful example of understanding, acceptance, love, and compassion all wrapped up in one conclusive act. It is the very essence of the life of Jesus’ strength through adversity, for without hesitation, Jesus responded to his cry for mercy. Here is what Luke 23:43 tells us: ‘Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”‘ Here is the lesson that we can learn from the second cross, the CROSS OF REPENTANCE: it is never too late to repent and ask the Lord to accept us. Jesus freed this man from his sins, received him graciously, justified him unconditionally, and led him to experience the gift of eternal life. What a beautiful message of hope that must be proclaimed: ‘IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO REPENT’.
3) The third cross represents the Cross of REDEMPTION
The cross in the middle of Calvary was the one that holds the hope and future for ALL willing to embrace it. Yes, the third cross is THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION. Lifted up right in the middle of two criminals, Jesus hung from a cross – the very Son of God, demonstrating the very words of the Heavenly Father found in this well-know scripture of John 3:16 (TPT): ‘For here is the way God loved the world – he gave his only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.’ Yes, right in the middle of Calvary for all to see was the Cross of REDEMPTION that holds HOPE and the FUTURE of humanity. Let’s never forget that when Jesus died on the cross of Redemption and then rose again from the grips of death, His grace of salvation could be released! He paid a price that none of us could pay. Thank God for that! Even as the Son of God hung on that middle cross, mercy flowed. And it was demonstrated in the criminals hanging on either side of Jesus, because they both had the same choice: while one took his bitterness and rage to the grave, the other pleaded with this cry: ‘Remember me!’ How good to know that Jesus doesn’t hold our past against us, for He took our shame, our guilt, our hurts, and our iniquities so that we could experience freedom from their grip! That does not mean that we will never experience trials. No, we will face difficulties as we live in this fallen world, but with God’s Spirit living within us, we can experience the fullness of life that God has promised for all who have and will accept Him as their saviour.
Therefore, let’s never forget that there’s no more beautiful Message to pass on than the Message of the Cross of Repentance, whereby anyone who is willing to repent will experience the Cross of Redemption! Let’s make sure that this Easter, we tell the world that Jesus is truly alive, FOR HE IS RISEN!!!! Yes for sure there was THREE CROSSES ON CALVARY, BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SALVATION. AND THAT WAY IS OUR RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST!