Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
      The picture of the three crosses at Calvary is a wonderful illustration of God’s sovereignty, justice, and mercy.  Jesus innocently hung between two notorious criminals.  The religious leaders, who out of envy despised Christ, intimidated and incited the crowds to have Jesus crucified.  Their intent was clear: Jesus was to be viewed as the centerpiece of the crucifixions.  They proudly displayed Him as the most heinous and infamous criminal.  They prominently displayed Him as a man rejected by men and cursed by God (see Gal.3:13).  There were, of course, those faithful believers who agonized in profound sorrow and disbelief as they watched their Lord and Savior being crucified.  But they were not the most vocal ones, and they were not the majority.  This gruesome scene is ultimately indescribable.  It was the day that God’s one and only Son was tortured, blasphemed, and murdered by sinful men – all under God’s sovereign purpose and salvific plan (see Is.53; Acts 2:22-24).
      In all this, we see two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus.  One of the thieves is unrelenting in his verbal abuse of Christ, but initially both thieves were hurling insults at Christ and reviling His name (see Matt.27:44).  Their words were blasphemous, and their voices were venomous.  But in the midst of all these malicious insults, we see the reality of eternity without Christ.  Desperate, but still unbelieving, one of the criminals adds to his mocking words a sarcastic challenge for Christ to save him: “Aren't you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!” (Lk.23:39).
      His words do not prove that he believed in Jesus, but they do reveal that he was hopelessly without a Savior.  Whether he was an atheist or not, this man knew one thing: he had no one to save him.  He could not rely on past good works to save him, nor was he banking on religious experience or practice to pardon him.  His mockery reveals the reality.  He had nothing to look forward to but a horrifying and excruciating death on a cross – and he knew it. 

Cultural Myth ~ There are many different ways to get to heaven     
Although this criminal did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, or receive Him as Savior and Lord, his words unwittingly reveal the sacred truth about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: if there was another way to get to heaven God would not have sent His one and only Son to die on the cross.  Sheer logic dictates that God would not have sent His one and only Son to die a horrific and excruciating death on the cross if there were any “other” way to be saved.  The reason Jesus suffered and died on the cross, is because that is the only way sinners could be reconciled to God.

Gospel Truth ~ The only way to be saved is by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior     
How truly awful it is for us to realize that this criminal reviled and rejected the only one who could have saved him.  He was literally just several feet away from the Savior and would not repent and believe.  In all of his blasphemous mocking and slanderous insults, he never uttered the words that could have saved his soul: “Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the one and only Son of God.  I repent of my sins and ask you to be my one and only Lord and Savior.”
      Today, there are many who are believing the lie that there are many different ways to get to heaven, or many different ways to God.  But Jesus Christ is still, and will forever be, the only way for sinners to be saved and reconciled to God.  There is only one Savior, and His name is Jesus Christ! (see Jn.3:16, 14:6; Acts 4:12, 1Jn.5:11-12).

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #32):
Leviticus 25-27; 1 Chronicles 1-4; Psalm 93-95; Proverbs 16; Daniel 1-6; John 3-4; 2 Thess. 1-3
Recommended Reading:
“Ten Lies About God: and the truths that shatter deception” by Erwin Lutzer

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