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
- Passover and Good Friday (renewamerica.com)
- At Calvary ~ Golden Oldie Hymn (heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com)
Easter Sunday is past, but the story remains. The mystical story of life over death gives us hope and victory and rests our souls.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Harry Emerson Fosdick tells this story: Some years ago a little church on the coast of England was ruined in a hurricane. The congregation thought themselves unable to rebuild. Then one day a representative of the British Admiralty came to the clergyman to ask if they intended to reconstruct the church. The clergyman explained why they could not do it. “Well,” said the representative of the British navy, “if you do not rebuild the church we will. That spire is on all our charts and maps. It is the landmark by which the ships of the seven seas steer their course.” A true parable, that! Never more than now, when the souls of men need divine help, stable and secure, strong, sustaining, and empowering, is the church’s message needed.
Though the hurricane of hell brought the sins of the world down upon the body of Christ, crushing the life from Him, that body was rebuilt on Easter. Today, the spire of the cross stands as our chart and map. Calvary’s cross is the landmark by which the church and its followers steer their course.
English: Roman Centurion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bible shows us a very real person. He can be found in the book of Luke 23:47&48. Rome had many burly, manly men. They had been hardened by war and the type of depravity that came with it. There was a Roman centurion in charge of Jesus following his arrest. His behavior can serve as an inspiration about being real.
My assumption is that he was like all other centurions of his day. He had proven himself in battle. His loyalty to Caesar was unquestioned. The Centurion was a man to be looked up to and modeled. All these things, as good as they are, do not make you a real person. The Centurion did, however, possess some qualities that made him real and worthy of being a role model for us today.
1.The real person Listens.
The Centurion walked with Jesus as he carried his cross up to Calvary. He heard those who ridiculed him . He saw those who worshipped him. He heard it all.
2. The real person Acknowledges.
When all was said and done, the Centurion looked up at Jesus on the cross and said, “ This was truly the son of God .”
3. The real person Feels
I believe the Centurion felt the pain of Jesus as he went through torture, public humiliation, and finally a very painful death. Throughout all of this he became increasingly empathetic with Jesus.
4. The real person Takes Risks.
When the Centurion acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God, he opened himself up to criticism from all sorts of places. The Romans could say that he was not worshipping the gods of Rome. The Jews could say he was just crazy. It didn’t matter, because he was real.
Let’s all try to be as real as the Roman Centurion. I don’t know about you, but I like real people.
- Light bulb moments (irenefrances.wordpress.com)