March 25, 2016

Jesus in the Middle

John 19:16-24

There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

—  John 19:18

The picture at Golgotha is quite striking. There were three crosses, with Jesus in the middle. Our salvation could have been accomplished if Jesus had died alone. But that’s not how God designed it.

Jesus died between two criminals. They died as punishment for their crimes. Like us all, they had sinned against God. These two criminals portray our condition. They picture what all of us deserve apart from faith in Jesus.

Then there was Jesus. He too died under God’s curse and judgment, but he was innocent. He had no sin or guilt. Several times Pilate had declared him innocent. The sign that hung above Jesus’ head listed no crimes. Even one of the criminals who died with him testified that Jesus had done nothing wrong, and Jesus forgave him. Jesus’ cross proclaims salvation. It shows us the one who carried our sins.

It’s important that Jesus’ cross was in the middle. The cross is at the center of God’s work of salvation. We can’t avoid the cross; it forces the question “What will you do with Jesus?”

On this Good Friday, where do you stand in relationship to Jesus, the Savior? Do you know that he has died for your sins? Have you accepted him as your Savior and Lord? That is my prayer for everyone who reads this message today.

Father, thank you for giving your Son so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

About the author — Tom Groelsema

Tom Groelsema and his wife, Sheri, have served churches in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. They have four children and three granddaughters.

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