The Three Crosses of Calvary

Jesus is not just our Savior. He is our Lord and King. He is the King of Kings. We tend to focus only on one cross at Calvary, but there were three, each significant.

Introduction

Jesus is not just our Savior. He is our Lord and King. He is the King of Kings.

Scripture

Luke 23:35-43 (NASB)
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.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Christ’s atoning sacrifice upon the cross at Calvary. Without His gift of redemption, we would all be dead in our sins. Help us Lord to share the story of the cross with those who need to hear it and may their lives be transformed for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Main Points

We tend to focus only on one cross at Calvary, but there were three, each significant.

1. The Cross of Rejection – which holds a man dying in sin

Luke 23:35-39 (NASB)
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!”

Traditionally known as Gestas

This thief represents those who stubbornly refuse to repent, even after experiencing God’s love

He tried to bend Heaven and Earth to his own advantage

Now, on the brink of eternity and pinned to his cross, he has two choices

  • Accept Jesus Christ the King
  • Reject Jesus Christ the King

Hardened by countless crimes

  • He rejects Divine Grace
  • Rather than assuming the posture of allegiance

Instead, he joins the mob in their brutal attack on Christ

Together, they tragically fail to recognize the promised King Who came to

  • Shepherd rather than dominate
  • Serve rather than be served
  • Ultimately give His life as a ransom for many

2. The Cross of Reception – which holds a man dying to sin

Luke 23:40-42 (NASB)
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!”

Traditionally known as Demas

This thief allows Divine Love to clear his vision and see the mighty difference between good and evil

Having led a life of rebellion himself

  • He knows he deserves to suffer
  • But moved by the Lord’s quiet majesty and calm dignity, he exclaims “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

In utter defiance of the mob, he unites himself with the King, completely trusting in our Savior’s power over life and death

His display of allegiance moves our Redeemer to respond with authority, “… today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Demas’ simple request to be remembered is generously granted

3. The Cross of Redemption – which holds our King dying for sin

Luke 23:43 (NASB)
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

In Biblical times, it was customary to transfer the inhabitants of a defeated kingdom into the victorious one

Defeating the Kingdom of Darkness through the Cross of Redemption, our Savior

  • Regained Paradise that was lost because of man’s iniquity
  • Transferred us to His Kingdom

Colossians 1:13-14 (NASB)
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

By His Cross of Redemption

  • Justice and peace are brought together
  • God and man are finally reconciled

It is no coincidence that our faith has chosen the meek but majestic cross

  • As the banner of discipleship
  • And the symbol of our allegiance to Christ the King

Conclusion

Summary

Our study has presented Christ the King on His Cross of Redemption

  • Suffering and agonizing
  • But also showing grace, mercy, and majesty

The Three Crosses of Calvary teach us allegiance to Christ the King ensures the promised salvation

Every now and then, our allegiance to Christ is challenged by way of physical and spiritual battles

Demas reminds us to take a stand even though we may find ourselves outnumbered and confronted with hate and anger

The Gospel also reminds us it is never too late to return to the Lord Jesus Christ

So long as there is life, the King’s invitation to enter His courts knocks upon our hearts

The Cross of Redemption transcends time, having the power to qualify even the very last child conceived

Acts 2:39 (NASB)
39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Therefore

Colossians 1:12-20 (NASB)
12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Application

Jesus Christ our Savior, Lord, and King died for sins on the Cross of Redemption

Which cross will you die on?

  • The Cross of Rejection – dying in sin
  • The Cross of Reception – dying to sin

The King is waiting for you answer

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, the three crosses of Calvary not only remind us of our need for redemption; but also the resulting fate of our decision to accept or reject Jesus’ gift of salvation. Help us to share the message of the cross(es) with those who need to hear it. Use us to lead others to Christ and may you receive all the honor, glory, and praise for You are worthy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "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. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

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Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

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I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

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