TEXT: John 19:17-18:
17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 310.
Don Whitney said, “Everyone is born a slave of sin. We cannot free ourselves from this oppressive master, for no one can live without sinning against God. But the sinless Jesus — not for His own sake, but for others — came from Heaven to deliver His people. Jesus allowed godless men to nail Him to a Roman cross, and three days later rose from the dead so that ‘we should no longer be slaves of sin.’ And all those who trust in His work (and not their own) as the way to freedom will find emancipation from sin.”
After Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers to be crucified, Jesus was made to bear His cross in a public procession to the outside of Jerusalem. For many of the people in the city — especially those who were just visiting for the Passover, many of whom would have been supporters of Jesus — this was the first they would have heard of Jesus’ arrest and trial. Except for the jeers of those who supported the religious establishment, multitudes would have gathered to watch, silently and sadly.
Crucifixion was a form of punishment invented by the Persians, but perfected and widely used by the Romans. It was the most excruciatingly painful way of execution that they could come up with — one normally reserved for rebels against Rome and the worst criminals. It was considered the ultimate disgrace to be killed by crucifixion. The Roman statesman Cicero called it “an act so abominable it is impossible to find any word adequately to express.” The historian Tacitus called crucifixion “a torture fit only for slaves.” Thusly, Jesus was crucified between two thieves.
Jesus’ central position on the cross is important for several reasons.
First, Jesus’ place between two thieves spoke of how Jesus was dying for humanity. He was arrested by humans, put on trial by humans, accused by humans, scourged by humans, beaten, mocked, and spit on by humans, sentenced to death by humans, nailed to a cross by humans, ultimately killed by humans. Jesus died with two humans. Some believe that Barabbas was scheduled to die that day and that Jesus had taken his place on the cross. But all throughout the ordeal, the hands we see driving the action forward are not supernatural hands, but human ones. The Father made sure the message was clear for the world. Jesus did this for humans.
Then, Jesus’ position on the cross — raised from the Earth, hung beneath the sky — symbolized His role as the mediator between God and man. Ages ago, sinful men had built a tower to scrape the underside of Heaven. But they were unworthy to unlock Heaven’s gates and enter in. On Golgotha, Jesus Himself became the tower, the ladder, the door, the key… the Way to God and to Heaven. He was God’s message, hanging above the earth: ‘This is what it takes to restore the relationship between God and man. This is what it takes for man to get from where he is to where God is.’
Finally, Jesus’ position in the center between two sinners shows us how He is the way from eternal death to eternal life. One on hand, there was a thief who joined the mocking crowd in casting insults at Jesus. On the other hand, the other thief recognized Jesus’ innocence, and said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” He, a desperate and dying man with no other option, cast all his faith on Jesus. Jesus told Him, “Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Alfred Plummer said, “The whole of humanity was represented in this scene: the sinless Saviour, the saved penitent, and the condemned impenitent.” Jesus is the one who bridges the gap between death and life, damnation and salvation. Today, you might exist on the side of death and damnation. If you want to get to life and salvation, then you must go through Jesus Christ.
George Smith wrote:
Behold Him now on yonder tree,
The Prince of Peace, the heavenly King;
O what can His transgression be
Such shameful punishment to bring?
And lo, a thief hangs on each side;
Who justly suffers for his crime.
But why should Christ be crucified,
The One so holy, so divine?
It was for me, yes, even me,
That Jesus died on Calvary;
My soul to cleanse from all its guilt,
His precious blood my Savior spilt.
Jesus Christ died so that you and I could one day be with Him in Paradise. But we must do as the penitent thief did and cast all our faith and trust in Him because He is the only One who can save us from sin and eternal punishment in Hell. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…” This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The phrase “For God so loved the world” means that if you are in this world, God loves you no matter what you have done.
The next phrase, “that He gave His only begotten Son” refers to Jesus Christ. He is God’s son who suffered, bled, and died on the cross for your sins and for mine, and He was buried and rose again.
Our next phrase is “that whosoever believeth in Him”. The word “whosoever” means anybody at anytime. The phrase “believeth in Him” means to trust in Him, to depend upon Him, to rely on Him, or to have faith in Him for your salvation.
Our next phrase, “should not perish”, refers to eternal punishment in a place called hell.
And, lastly, the phrase “but have everlasting life” means to live eternally in Heaven with God.
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.