The Cross a Revelation of Human Sinfulness
Luke 23:33
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand…

There is a picture I have seen somewhere, painted by a celebrated artist, in which one aspect of the crucifixion is very significantly represented, or rather suggested. It is intended to bring before the mind the after scenes and the after hours of that memorable day, when the crowd had gone back again to pursue its wonted business in Jerusalem, when the thick gloom had been dispelled, and the clear light shone once more on that fatal spot called Calvary. The body of the Master had been conveyed to the sepulchre, the cross itself lies extended on the ground, and a band of little children, bright with the glow of childhood's innocence, led thither by curiosity or accident, are represented as bending over the signs left around of the bloody deed which has that day been accomplished. One of the children holds in his hand a nail, but a short time ago piercing the hand or the foot of the patient Sufferer, and stands, spell-bound with horror, gazing at it. And upon every face the painter has plainly depicted the verdict which innocence must ever give with regard to that dreadful tragedy. It is so we would desire to consider the subject and the scene. The heart, conceiving aright the amazing impiety culminating at the cross, may well take this attitude of wonder, surprise, horror. The cross comes to be God's great indictment against man.

I. The first word of the text may be looked upon as furnishing us with the first count of this indictment against man. IT SUPPLIES LOCALITY, FIXES THE SCENE OF THE DREADFUL TRAGEDY AS HERE UPON EARTH. "There they crucified Him." The place where the commonest criminals were led out to die a lingering death. Earth has her mysteries, and this is one of them. The mystery of iniquity culminates here. It has lifted up its impious hands against God.

II. The second word of the text furnishes us with a further point in the indictment, as indicating HUMAN AGENCY. "There they crucified Him." The actors in this eventful drama were men, those among whom Christ had wrought His miracles and exercised His pure and beneficent ministry.. And it was a typical act — such an act as man perpetrates every day. Envy, hatred, indifference, nailed Christ to the tree; and while these exist in the heart, what spirit shall stand excused?

III. The third word of the text may be looked upon as enforcing the indictment, since it implies A DEFINITE AND DELIBERATE ACT. "There they crucified Him." What hardness and callousness of heart was exhibited here! It was necessary that sin should show its exceeding sinfulness, once and for all, truly detestable that it might be detested, heinous and black as perdition, that even our sinful spirits might shrink back in awe and trembling. For this is what all sin is tending to: contempt and callousness at the sight of suffering worth, scorn of innocence, hatred of a purity which condemns our darker deeds, rejection of God Himself if His claims interfere with our selfish schemes.

IV. The final and hopeful word of the text sheds a light upon this indictment, as indicating A DIVINE REDEEMER WORKING AMID ALL. "There they crucified Him." Strangely enough, it is the Victim Himself who invests all else with worth, and makes the contemplation of such a deed alone profitable to us. When Socrates entered into prison, they said of it that it was a prison no longer; the dishonour and the infamy had passed away in the presence of such resplendent worth. So, but more memorably, it is at the cross. The place is nothing; the actors sink into insignificance; and of the act itself we care nothing, save as it stands associated with Him. There is a law of compensation in all things. Bend the bough of the giant oak for a moment, and it springs back with a momentum proportionate to its strength. And so it is with this Divine One who has bent before the strong blast of the adversary, for of Him it is written, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me."

(Walter Baxendale.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

The Cross
Top of Page
Top of Page