There were three crosses on Calvary's hill
Luke 23:13-43 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 17 Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.
18 But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” 19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.
26 When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.
27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.
33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Isaiah 53:3-12 says: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and
we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought
us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
If only today’s weather forecasters could as accurately predict and describe the weather conditions for the next couple days as the prophet Isaiah described and predicted the events surrounding Jesus arrest and crucifixion 700 years before it took place. Jesus was indeed numbered with transgressors. Today’s text says: Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. Those three crosses and the men who were crucified on them, tell the story of the gospel of salvation through Christ. The text says: One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” The first man only wanted his life spared. He showed no remorse, no repentance for his actions. He sought only to save his life. In Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus says: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Indeed these two men literally took up their own crosses. But that obviously is not what Jesus means. If we die for our own sins we are indeed dead. If all we come to Jesus for is to preserve what we have in this life, still we will lose our life. The other man said: “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” He acknowledged that he was a sinner. 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Next he said: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” In the Aramaic Bible in plain English translation it says: And he said to Yeshua, “My Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” This one did not seek to have this life spared, but rather sought what was eternal. He asked to be remembered when Jesus came into His eternal kingdom. He acknowledged that Jesus, Yeshua was both his Lord and King. The text says: Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” This one believed that was true, that Jesus is the King of the Jews. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the Christ, prophesied by Isaiah, who would give His life for the sins of the world, not only for the Jews, but for everyone. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Jesus answered the one who believed: And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
That’s the gospel summed up in the three crosses on Calvary’s hill; One a Savior, Lord and King. One a sinner lost to sin; One redeemed forever to live.
Thank You heavenly Father, my Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God granted through the cross of Christ. Amen.