Who are you at the cross? One who scoffs? Challenges God to prove who He is? Like a soldier just there out of obligation hoping to collect a paycheck? A follower who deserted at the garden who has slunk back to the edges of the cross hoping not to be recognized? One who weeps for the terrible way they treated Jesus? Like the first criminal hanging beside him who doubts but turns to Him in desperation? Or, are you like the second one who took accountability for his sins and turned to the One you know to be the Son of God to save you?
I. Luke 23:32-39. Jesus is the I Am whether we acknowledge Him or not. In Psalm 22:12-18, those surrounding the cross are described as lions, dogs, and bulls. If Jesus would have given in to earthly taunts, He would have saved only Himself, but He followed His Father’s heavenly plan and died to save us all. Just because man couldn’t see the plan didn’t make Him any less God in the flesh. Rather, His work on the cross gave those obedient to Him eternal life (Hebrews 5:7-9).
II. Matthew 10:32-33. There are so many ways we deny Jesus each and every day. Notice Jesus forgave the people from the cross before they began. Surrounding Him there were those who defied, those who were duty-bound, and those who doubted. Sadly, Christians today often fall into these categories of those who wear His name while compromising with the world (2 Timothy 3:1-7).
III. Luke 23:40-43. There was one, however, the second criminal who hung beside Jesus who, even though under the sentence of death, acknowledged his sins and who Jesus was. He was promised Paradise because of it. This criminal rebuked the first that He did not fear God, which is our duty (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We should all live as if we know we’re dying and obey the gospel (Acts 2:36-40).
Save yourself from this crooked generation’ is the same appeal today. Save yourself from those surrounding the cross. Be instead like the dying believer who was hanged next to Jesus.