Monday, March 7, 2022

Three Crosses of Calvary

By Al Behel


    Golgotha. Calvary. “The Place of the Skull.” That’s where they crucified Jesus. After the mockery of a trial, he was compelled to carry his own cross until the soldiers commanded a bystander to take it from him. Crosses often lined the roads into cities as executions were publicly carried out. The crowd gathered to see this “King of the Jews” die.

    On each side of him was a criminal, also condemned to die that day, probably as a matter of convenience. In the middle was the cross of Jesus. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t of polished wood. It was made of rough timbers and may have been used many times before. The blood of many criminals had likely stained it to the core. There was nothing special about the cross itself. It was a place of death. But this time it was different. The Son of God would die on it that day. Killed by men he had created on a piece of wood he had made.

    The other crosses were much the same as this one. But, those dying there were very different. They were described as “criminals” who deserved to die. They stood side by side with the cross of Jesus. One was a cross of Rebellion. “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us’ ” (Luke 23:39). Dying for crimes he had committed, this criminal used his last moments to ridicule Jesus.

    The other cross was different. It was a cross of Repentance. This criminal saw himself as he was and knew his eternal destiny. He rebuked the first criminal, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Then Jesus said to him, ’Assuredly, I say to you, Today you shall be with me in Paradise.” He was moved to repentance and received a blessing from the Lord.

    The third cross, the cross of Jesus, is a cross of Redemption and Salvation. In his death he brought eternal life to us. He “bore our sins in his body on the tree” (I Peter 2:22, 24). His cross is what matters. His cross makes all the difference. In that cross He paid our debt (redemption) and made possible our salvation from eternal destruction. Let’s cling to that cross!
- Al Behel preaches for the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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