Dear Friends in our series titled “Centrality of the Cross”, today we cast our spotlight on other related subject which underscores the significance of the Cross in God’s redemption plan…
Condition and Conduct…
The penalty of the Cross, which requires that the condemned’s “hands and legs be fastened by the nails to it”, also in a way portrays the “middleman” role of the Saviour. In the Cross, the condemned man’s head neither touches the sky nor do his legs touch the ground. 1 Tim. 2:5 tells us: “There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity–the man Christ Jesus.” (NLT). Thus, Jesus, while on the cross, was is right in the middle between God above and man below. Amazing, isn’t it! My Saviour paid the price in order that I might be liberated from both the clutches of sin and the demands of the law (1 Cor. 15:54-57)!
When Jesus was crucified along with two other criminals, it was not for the first time nor was it for the last time that three men were being crucified simultaneously in the annals of Roman history. The intent behind putting the sinless one on the middle cross was the wicked reasoning of His enemies that he was the worst criminal of them all, for the middle cross would usually be assigned to the most dangerous of the three criminals. It was meant to rub salt, virtually and figuratively, into the copiously bleeding wounds of Christ. The Almighty, however, has a way of weaving even the crooked ideas of hard-hearted men into the overall beautiful tapestry that His plan of Salvation represents.
To the redemptive work of Christ on the central cross, there has historically always been, and can be only be, two types of responses. These responses are personified by the words of the two criminals who hung on either side: The one of rejection: “One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, ‘So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself–and us, too, while you’re at it!'” (Luke 23:39 NLT) and other of re-creation: “But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.'” (Luke 23:40-43 NLT).
Dear Reader, when you look at the person dying for the sins of mankind, like the hard-core criminal to the left of Jesus who wanted only physical deliverance from the excruciating death, you can choose to remain in sin and look at Christ as merely a solver of worldly problems. Hey, even today many would want to follow Christ if only the “prosperity gospel” is preached instead of the rightful “gospel of adversity” (SeeActs 14:22.) Is it not a fact that there are many takers for the prosperity gospel, which is why “prosperity gospel” preachers are…. hmmmm…”prospering”? However we need to respond like the repentant thief and die to sin by accepting Jesus as the solver of the much graver, spiritual problem of sin in our lives. And yes…He would surely provide for the needs of those who make pleasing Him their number one priority (SeeMatt. 6:33).
To reject the redemptive Gospel or to be redeemed by it through repentence (seeActs 2:37-38) is the choice that is kept in front of all of us. Remember the decision we take here on this side of eternity determines our destiny on the other side of it.
Let’s learn to cast our cares upon our Adonai God who is seated on the throne and in control of everything (“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7). Yes, let’s also learn to worship in awe of Him who is Sovereign.
Prayer: Father, we seek Thy Son for salvation sake first and foremost. Enable us to always prioritize properly. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries