The Thief on the Cross
Dr. Fred Lowery
Isaiah 43:5-6; Acts 4:27; Luke 23:33-43; Luke 19:10
April 17, 2011
Our story today is the thief on the cross and it is one of the greatest stories of love and hope and grace that's ever been written in human history. This story literally screams hope. Hope for anyone, anywhere. The vilest of sinners, the best of people who need a savior. The setting is on a rocky hill called Calvary, just outside Jerusalem out the Damascus gate. A very public place where they nailed people to a cross. We know it as Golgotha, literally meaning the place of the skull. And it's on that hill that this story of grace and hope is as amazing as it is unlikely. It's wrapped around three men on three crosses. It is so unlikely, the holy with the unholy. The Christ with the criminals. One man died in his sin and went to hell. The other man died to his sin and went to heaven. Two criminals and probably murderers had been judged and sentenced to die. They were condemned and they were to die on the Roman cross which was the most painful and the ugliest kind of death. But the interesting thing is even though Pilate gave the order, what Pilate didn't know is that he was simply carrying out the plan of God all the way back through eternity. He didn't realize that he was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah nearly eight hundred years before. Listen to what Isaiah said, verse 5 of 53, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him. And by his wounds we are healed. In verse six and the Lord laid on him, Jesus, the iniquity of us all. And then if you look in the New Testament in Acts 4:27, it says for in fact they did meet Herod and Pontius Pilate even Israel itself met in the city to plot against your holy son Jesus. The one you made Messiah, watch this, to carry out the plans you long ago set in motion. So the story of the cross and the thieves on the cross and the death of Jesus Christ was a story that was set in motion by God himself in eternity. I want us to look at that story, I want to read it and then we are going to talk about it. It's in Luke chapter 22 beginning with verse 32. Two others, criminals, were also led to be executed with Him, with Jesus, when they arrived at the place called the skull they crucified Him there along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. Then Jesus said father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing. And they divided his clothes and cast lots. The people stood watching and even the leaders kept scoffing. He saved others let Him save Himself if this is God's Messiah, the chosen one. The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said if you are the king of the Jews save yourself. An inscription was above Him. A sign, a placard, "This is the King of the Jews". Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him. Aren't yo ...
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