by Fred Lowery

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 an ...

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