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Home » Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels ! Chapter 54 - Luke 23:32-43 - The Three Crosses Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius
Quick Access Chapter 1 - Matthew 1:1 - Very Man... Chapter 2 - Matthew 1:16 - Jesus the See... Chapter 3 - Matthew 2:3 - Jesus the Trou... Chapter 4 - Matthew 3:10 - The Desert Vo... Chapter 5 - Matthew 4:23 - Jesus in Seas... Chapter 6 - Matthew 5:45 - His Sun... Chapter 7 - Matthew 8:1-3 - Human Lepros... Chapter 8 - Matthew 8:34 - Man's Dislike... Chapter 9 - Matthew 11:28 - The Rest and... Chapter 10 - Matthew 11:29 - The Three E... Chapter 11 - Matthew 12:41 - Nineveh and... Chapter 12 - Matthew 13:25 - The Two Sow... Chapter 13 - Matthew 19:6 - Herod's Ball... Chapter 14 - Matthew 19:15-16 - Man's Wa... Chapter 15 - Matthew 14:24-31 - The Help... Chapter 16 - Matthew 17:17 - The Graciou... Chapter 17 - Matthew 18:1-4 - The Peerag... Chapter 18 - Matthew 18:2; Luke 19:10 - ... Chapter 19 - Matthew 21:44 - The Stone o... Chapter 20 - Matthew 22:42 - The Things ... Chapter 21 - Matthew 24:12 - The Chill o... Chapter 22 - Matthew 24:42, 44 - True Vi... Chapter 23 - Matthew 25:3 - Religion wit... Chapter 24 - Matthew 25:31, 33 - The Gre... Chapter 25 - Matthew 24:70 - The Denying... Chapter 26 - Matthew 27:4 - The True Con... Chapter 27 - Mark 3:35 - Relationship to... Chapter 28 - Mark 4:39 - The Great Calm... Chapter 29 - Mark 5:36 - Only Believe... Chapter 30 - Mark 6:6 - Jesus Wondering ... Chapter 31 - Mark 6:33, 34 - Christ's Te... Chapter 32 - Mark 6:53-56 - Jesus and Hi... Chapter 34 - Mark 11:13 - The Fruitless ... Chapter 33 - Mark 10:52 - Christ's Recog... Chapter 35 - Mark 11:22 - Faith in God... Chapter 36 - Mark 13:33 - Watch and Pray... Chapter 37 - Mark 13:34-37 - The Master ... Chapter 38 - Mark 14:62 - The Coming of ... Chapter 39 - Luke 4:16-31 - The Gracious... Chapter 40 - Luke 6:19 - Health in Jesus... Chapter 41 - Luke 7:36-50 - Much Forgive... Chapter 42 - Luke 11:13 - How Much More!... Chapter 43 - Luke 15:2 - Jesus Watching ... Chapter 44 - Luke 15:10 - God's Joy Over... Chapter 45 - Luke 15:20 - The Father's L... Chapter 46 - Luke 15:22 - God's Free Lov... Chapter 47 - Luke 17:26, 27 - Noah Days... Chapter 48 - Luke 19:11-27 - The Lowest ... Chapter 49 - Luke 14:40 - Christ Must ha... Chapter 50 - Luke 21:28 - Signs of the T... Chapter 51 - Luke 21:36 - Deliverance in... Chapter 52 - Luke 22:18 - The New Wine o... Chapter 53 - Luke 22:19, 20 - The Heaven... Chapter 54 - Luke 23:32-43 - The Three C... Chapter 55 - Luke 24:29 - The Disciples'... Chapter 56 - John 1:12, 13 - Reception o... Chapter 57 - John 3:2 - The World's Need... Chapter 58 - John 3:14, 15 - Life in Loo... Chapter 59 - John 3:29 - The Filling Up ... Chapter 60 - John 3:34, 35 - The Fullnes... Chapter 61 - John 4:10 - The Living Wate... Chapter 62 - John 5:39, 40 - Bible Testi... Chapter 63 - John 6:17 - Night with Jesu... Chapter 64 - John 6:50 - The Bread of Im... Chapter 65 - John 6:51 - Christ's Flesh ... Chapter 66 - John 7:37 - Come and Drink... Chapter 67 - John 7:53; John 8:1, 12 - J... Chapter 68 - John 8:31, 32 - Truth and L... Chapter 69 - John 8:54 - The Father Hono... Chapter 70 - John 11:40 - The Honour Giv... Chapter 71 - John 12:12 - Inquiring afte... Chapter 72 - John 12:32 - The Great Attr... Chapter 73 - John 12:35-36 - Light and i... Chapter 74 - John 12:46 - Light for the ... Chapter 75 - John 12:48 - The Judging Wo... Chapter 76 - John 14:8-10 - The Revelati... Chapter 77 - John 13:16, 17 - The Abidin... Chapter 78 - John 14:26 - The Mighty Com... Chapter 79 - John 14:27 - The Divine Leg... Chapter 80 - John 16:25-28 - Christ in H... Chapter 81 - John 16:33 - Tribulation, P... Chapter 82 - John 17:26 - The Declaratio... Chapter 84 - John 18:28 - Ritualism and ... Chapter 84 - John 19:2 - The Greater Sin... Chapter 85 - John 20:17 - Christ's Work ... Chapter 86 - John 21:5 - The Tender Love... Light & Truth - The Gospels - Footnotes...
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The Three Crosses.
"And there were also two others, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors; one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding: and the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, and saying, if thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This is the icing of the Jews. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, if thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."-Luke 23:32-43.
The place of this transaction is Jerusalem; the holy city; outside its walls. The scene is that of three crosses, three criminals, soldiers, priests, a Jewish crowd, a great execution, a few weeping women, and one or two afflicted men in the distance. It has much to say to us; most of it not upon the surface, but hidden and silent; something of God, of the Saviour, of the sinner; something of sin, of salvation, of damnation; something of heaven, of earth, of hell; sin pardoned, sin unpardoned; a soul won, a soul lost: Christ received, Christ rejected.
Let us select a few lessons.
I. Man's hatred of God. Human enmity, malice, envy, come out in every part of the transaction. Pilate's hall; the scourging, mocking, spitting, smiting; the cry, Crucify; the nailing, the wagging the head; the thief's railing. The very idea of placing Him between two malefactors a reproof of desperate malice; the refinement of hatred. Here are man's heart, hands, tongue, all coming out against God and his Son. If there were a spark of love in man, it would have come out. But only hatred! "Haters of God" is written on each forehead yonder; "enmity to God" breaks forth in word and deed. It was not love, it was not mere indifference that came out at Calvary, but hatred; the hatred of the human race to the God who was yearning over it in love.
II. God's love to man. Herein is love! Love to the uttermost; unquenched and unquenchable by all that man can do. Man pours floods upon this love to quench it, but it grows more intense. What patience with man's utmost malice; what forbearance with his sin! "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Was ever love like this? So large, so free, so overflowing. Sin abounding; grace much more abounding. The tide of divine love meeting that of human hatred, and overcoming it.
III. God's purpose to finish the work. He will not suffer Himself to be provoked to leave the propitiation half finished, the sacrifice half offered. Man does his utmost to provoke God to let him alone, to withdraw the salvation and the Saviour. But God's purpose shall stand. Every part of it shall be carried out. The wrath of man shall praise Him. All the indignities heaped upon the holy Son of God shall not cause Him to draw back in his work of righteous grace. It shall be finished! The altar shall be built,-built by man's enmity; the sacrifice shall be slain,-slain by man's enmity. The work shall be done
IV. The divine interpretation of the work. The saved thief is a specimen of what it is appointed to do. Sin abounding, grace super abounding. What is you cross erected for? To save souls! See, it saves one of the worst; one who had done nought but evil all his days. What does that blood flow for? To wash away sin. See, it washes one of the blackest. What does yon sufferer die for? To pardon the guiltiest. Not merely to save from hell, but to open Paradise to the chief of sinners,-to open it at once; not after years of torment, but "today." Today "with me." Yes, Jesus goes back to heaven with a saved robber at his side! What an efficacy in yon cross! What grace, what glory, what cleansing, what healing, what blessing, yonder! Even "in weakness" the Son of God can deliver, can pluck brands from the burning, can defy and defeat the evil one. Such is the meaning of the cross! Such is the interpretation which God puts upon it by saving that wretched thief, whose hanging yonder proves that he is under condemnation,-the first saved by the cross after it had been set up; and Christ Himself goes up to join in the joy over one sinner that repenteth.
V. How near to hell a man may be, and yet be saved. That thief, was he not on the very brink of the burning lake; one foot in hell; almost set on fire of hell? Yet he is plucked out. He has done nothing but evil all his days,-down to the very last hour of his life,-yet he is saved. He is just about to step into perdition, when the hand of the Son of God seizes him and lifts him to Paradise! Ah what grace is here! What boundless love! What power to save! Who after this need despair? Truly Jesus is mighty to save!
VI. How near a man may be to Christ, and yet not be saved. The other thief is as near the Saviour as his fellow, yet he perishes. From the very side of Christ he goes down to hell. From the very side of his saved fellow, he passes into damnation. We see the one going up to heaven from his cross, and the other going down to hell from it. In Judas we see one who had been with Christ in His life, go down to hell; in the lost thief, one who was beside Him in His death. This is marvelous; and it is fearful! Oh what a lesson, what a sermon is here! Was there ever such a warning given to us! Can any of you be nearer to Christ than that thief was? Looking at Him, hearing Him, speaking to Him! He was lost after all! Oh make sure. Not outward nearness; not religion; not contact with the Word of God; not eating and drinking the symbols of His body and blood; not all these can save! You may be very near Christ, and yet not be in Him. Your next neighbour may be saved, and you lost; one taken, the other left. Take heed; make sure. Salvation is too precious to be trifled with!
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