*The Christmas Challenge is to read through the 24 chapters in the Gospel of Luke one chapter a day during the month of December – finishing this historical account of the life of Jesus just in time for Christmas. Today’s chapter is Luke 23.
Luke 23:33 – “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
This scene shows us three crosses. On one cross is a sinner. He is dying because he has stolen, but theft is not his greatest crime. His greatest crime is sin. Just like each of us, we are sinners by action (Romans 3:23) and by nature (Ephesians 2:3).
He calls out for salvation. We all sense a need for something, but like we do so often, he seeks the wrong thing in the right place. He asked the right person for the wrong thing. He wanted deliverance, but he wanted the immediate, the tangible, and the self-affirming. He wanted salvation on HIS terms – in his way. Sadly, what he did not have was faith. He viewed Jesus from a physical point of view and rejected Him.
The other cross holds a sinner as well. He too calls out for salvation, but not physical deliverance. “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He comes to Christ on His terms – repentance (“We deserve”) and faith (“Lord”). He reminds us that no sinner is too wicked nor time too late for salvation to be graciously granted.
The third cross held a Savior. One who had never sinned.
It is this cross that divides the whole world. All were there. This reading tells us that his name was written in three languages. Hebrew – religious, Greek – intellectual, Latin – government. The religious leaders who hated Him, the traitor who sold Him, the priests who bought Him, and the disciples who deserted Him.
“And I was there too!”
Two crosses. Both men called for salvation. Both approached Jesus as the Messiah, asking for deliverance. One saw Jesus through a physical perspective and came in doubt. “If you are the Christ.”
The other saw Jesus through the eyes of faith and received salvation. The same is true today. Some see Jesus through eyes of flesh. Others will see Him through eyes of faith.
Which side of the cross are you on?