Read Luke 23:1-56
“Raising of the Cross”
The painting “Raising of the Cross” depicts the crucifixion of Christ. Notice the man at the foot of the cross wearing a blue painter’s beret. Obviously, this man is not from the 1st century – this man looks out of place. And yet, there he stands, lifting the cross with the others. Who is this man?
It is Rembrandt himself, who has pictured himself at the foot of the cross.
Why did Rembrandt place himself at the foot of the cross as Jesus is lifted up, and crucified? For no other reason than to tell the world, that he, Rembrandt, was a sinner. His sins, like the rest of mankind’s, sent Christ to the cross. Rembrandt recognized himself as a man of rebellion, who chose repentance, and received redemption.
At the crucifixion of Jesus there were 3 crosses:
A cross of rebellion (Luke 23:39)
The cross of rebellion held the thief that remained bitter in his heart. We see the rebellion in the Roman Government who was indifferent; in the crowd who was hard-hearted; in the Jewish leaders who were hostile; and in the thief who completely rejected Christ. This thief saw and heard the same things that the other thief saw and heard, but chose to remain in a state of rebellion to Christ.
A cross of repentance (Luke 23:40-43)
At the cross of repentance, we have the other thief. This thief acknowledged the justice of God in the punishment of his sin. He acknowledged Jesus as Lord. His salvation was personal, secure, and guaranteed by the words of Jesus. The cross of repentance teaches us that the way of salvation is simple. The thief was saved simply by asking the Lord to save him. Because this thief asked Jesus to be forgiven and to enter into paradise, he received redemption.
The cross of redemption (Luke 23:47)
The cross of redemption, on which Jesus was crucified and died, provided redemption for those who chose to believe. Christ’s voluntary sacrifice at the crucifixion was a defining moment of Christianity. Christ’s last statement on the cross was, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
In this statement He:
Completed all Old Testament prophecy.
Completed the ceremonial law.
Completed the work of man’s redemption and salvation.
Man now has the ability to appear before a holy God,
man is reconciled to a holy God,
and man is considered righteous before a holy God.
Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection was the biggest defining moment of all! Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we can have eternal life!
This is your defining moment!
You have a choice:
Remain at the cross of rebellion or move to the cross of repentance.
Jesus was in the middle of the 2 thieves. Both thieves were guilty of sin and both had a choice to make with eternal results: life with Christ or a life without Him.
Rembrandt chose the cross of repentance. He knew that his sin put Christ on the cross. Do you realize that your sins also, put Christ on the cross?
What will you choose today? Look at the picture again, but this time, picture yourself in the place of Rembrandt at the foot of the cross.
I call Heaven and earth to witness against you today,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.
So choose life in order that you may live….
Your choice, will be your defining moment!