I am a nameless criminal. Greed controlled my life and evil claimed my soul. My crimes were eventually detected, and I was arrested by the Romans. My fate was sealed and my crucifixion date was set.
On that horrible day, just before Passover, three of us were taken to the place of crucifixion. As we hung suspended in torment on those crude Roman crosses, I became aware of the man next to me on the middle cross. While the life faded from our battered bodies, the third man cursed God and swore bitterly. But through my agony, I listened to the words of the man on that middle cross. He prayed as his mother and friends mourned for him. It occurred to me that my parents had long since cried their last tears of grief and shame for me. I was alone. But the man in the middle spoke words of comfort to his mother, words of forgiveness to his executioners, and words of oneness with God. And suddenly I knew. My childhood teachings became clear. This was the Messiah! This man was the Lamb of God!
I rebuked the third man to try and silence his foul mouth and tried to tell him who was dying between us. In tortuous pain, as my life drained from my body, I managed to turn my head toward the Messiah and ask Him to take me to heaven.
In that one miracle moment, I was changed from a man judged by man and condemned to die to a man judged by God Almighty and pardoned to eternal life. I was changed form a filthy, bloody, broken criminal to a clean, whole ransomed soul. I was changed from a man all alone with no one to hear my cry, to a man with the Savior as my advocate and friend. My heart of fear changed to a heart of peace. My guilt became innocence. One moment I was a prisoner, the next I was free. I was cursed, then I was blessed. My hopelessness was gone and was replaced by the hope of glory.
Much more than my body was crucified that day in Calvary. My sin was. I was crucified with Christ and received everlasting life. Your sin was crucified that day – the day Christ died. That day, just outside the city walls of Jerusalem, he died for all of us. That day we were all forgiven.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives with me.” Galatians 2:20