Posted by: dhkrause | August 22, 2012

The Significance in Three Crosses

By Marla Krause

The day Jesus died there were three crosses on Calvary.  Was this simply by chance?  Or, was some hidden meaning included in there being three crosses and not just one?  Every detail in the life of Jesus has importance.  Let us ask, who occupied those other two crosses?  Thieves we are told: one repented and the other was unrepentant.   What meaning is hidden in these three crosses?  And more importantly for us, what does this reveal for our own lives?

Well, a cross in the most general way speaks of a crossing.  The cross represents a crossing over from one side to another.  It was only a couple of centuries ago that it was a big deal to board a ship and cross the ocean from one land to another.  But what is most common to us today is a street crossing.  When the light turns green we may cross over to the other side.  We must wait on the one side for the approved light to show us permission to safely cross the intersection.

Back in history the Bible records important crossings over to the other side.  The children of Israel crossed over the Red Sea to the other side, leaving Egypt behind them.  And later, they made a second crossing over to the other side, this time of the Jordan River.  When the spring rains had swollen the river a mile wide, they miraculously crossed over.

These were God ordained crossings which changed their lives forever.  These journeys of the children of Israel point to set patterns which are common to all of us who follow Jesus.  What does their journeying have to do with our walk with God?  And what does it have to do with the three crosses on Calvary?

The thief on the cross next to Jesus that was unrepentant represents the people who crossed the Red Sea with Moses who were basically unrepentant people.  They had no Bible.  They had no Book of the Law.  They had no Law.  They were lawless unrepentant people in God’s eyes, but God had promised His Word to their forefathers to bring them out from the bondage of the world, Egypt, and to a new land.

Even today, God is calling people out of the world system according to His Words of Promise.  This is His Way – then, and now.

The only thing the children of Israel had agreed to do was to follow Moses out of Egypt, and that one agreement was the beginning of their repentances.  For us, when we agreed to follow Jesus, this was only the beginning of our repentances.  In God’s eyes, up until that moment, we were as unrepentant as were they.  Our first repentance was to come to Jesus.  Their first repentance was to follow Moses.

Now, for those who have received Jesus into their lives, the Holy Spirit moves in and begins making their hearts to be His home.  He begins to shift their priorities around to suit Himself.  What used to be important to the soul now diminishes and the Holy Spirit highlights His priorities, and transformation begins to take on a new form.  “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John the Baptist declared (John 3:30).  This new form will reflect the “image of the Creator” (Colossians 3:10).  And, as His image is forming in the heart, something of His likeness shines through and is seen by others.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

For every change the Holy Spirit brings about, the soul must bow to His Ownership and His Authority.  If the soul doesn’t bow, then circumstances will arise that makes it very uncomfortable for the soul until the will of the soul gives way to God’s will.  If the lesson is learned, the Spirit overcomes the will of the flesh as Light overcomes darkness, and the soul moves on with God.  But if the soul is not willing, it must go around this mountain again.  Some souls have very deep ruts from going around the same old mountain of circumstances so many times.

The children of Israel spent forty years in the desert.  However long it may take, when the soul bows, the circumstances fall away.  Only then, the soul won’t have to go around that mountain again.  The soul is set free of them forever.  For every value, for every priority that the soul held on to so dearly, the Holy Spirit will deal with it until the soul gives in to the Heavenly Father’s values and makes His values its priorities.  This process, in one word, is called repentance.

It seems that the children of Israel who crossed over the Red Sea remained an unrepentant people.  God calls them stiff-necked, stubborn, rebellious, murmurers and complainers, and they died in the desert wilderness. (Deut. 9:13, Num. 14:29)  They stopped short of the Promises of God.

Do not stop short of following Jesus.  Go all the way. The psalmist writes:

“Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.”  (Psalm 106:24-25)

 Later Paul warns,

“Don’t complain, as some of them complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” (1 Cor. 10:10)

And the Book of Hebrews warns us again:

“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [destruction]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:38-39, 2:3-4)

And John warns us:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)

Paul writes:

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:8)

The thief on the cross next to Jesus that had repented represents the next generation, the desert babies, the ones born in the desert who were different from their parents.  They grew up observing the Law and didn’t murmur for Egypt like their parents.  They had no previous experience of living in Egypt, so they had no longing to draw back.  All they knew was desert life.  This generation was trained up for crossing over the Jordan River.  They were the submitted, surrendered, disciplined group who went on with God.  And God led them into a new land.

“Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven,”  (Deuteronomy 9:1)

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

These “-ites” speak of issues to the believer.  When God calls a soul to be separated from the world and to follow Him, the Holy Spirit reveals strongholds in his fallen flesh.  These are often are tied to demonic influences and must be overcome by spiritual warfare as will later be described by Paul who taught us how to fight the good fight of faith.

Then in chapter 20 the Lord gives them rules for going to war:

“When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it.  And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you.   Now if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then you shall besiege it.  And when the LORD your God delivers it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword.” (Deuteronomy 20:10-13)

This generation of Israelites trained up to follow the Lord of Hosts into battle shows us the courage of Joshua.  They represent the warrior-bride of Christ engaging in spiritual warfare.  But, how are we to do this?  Paul says,

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV)

There was a physical warfare and now here is a spiritual warfare.  There was a sense knowledge through our physical senses from the world and there is a revelation knowledge through our human spirit from the Holy Spirit speaking, the Voice of the Lord to us.

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-14)

We learn from Paul that

“we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  (Ephesians 6:12)

We become co-partners with Christ.  Jesus said,

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,  and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:19)

He has given us authority and so we receive His Authority and say, “In the name of Jesus I take dominion and subdue the evil thing.”

Sometimes

“we do not know what we should pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And He that searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

We overcome the world by faith.  (1 John 5:4)  We walk by faith.  These are the ones willing to follow God by faith.  These are the ones prepared to follow God into unknown realms.

“The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)

Now, Jesus’ cross no man can bear.  So God sent His Son to bear what no man could bear.  Christ hangs in-between the thief who repented and the thief who did not.   Jesus Christ was the only way then, and is the only way now.  “Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John the Baptist had announced.  (John 1:29)

Some tried to get a special position with Him:

“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.  And He said to her, “What do you wish?”  She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”  But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask.  Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  They said to Him, “We are able.”  So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” (Matthew 20:20-23)

Peter was ready to follow Jesus to the cross but ended up denying Him three times.  Even Jesus Himself prayed,

“O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)

It would seem to be too much to bear “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”  However, His acceptable sacrifice opened up “a new and living way.”

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,” (Hebrews 10:19-20)

For us to come closer to Jesus’ cross, we apply His words to our lives.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:12,14-15)

“… love one another as I have loved you…” (John 13:34)

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” (Luke 6:40)

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

“… Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

“… He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Luke 14:35)

“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:15-17)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

To be called to be a servant of the Most High God: there is no higher calling than this.  Paul exhorts us:

“that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” (Colossians 1:10-13)

Marla Krause, 1/1/2012

(The Bible verses in this study are from the New King James Version and the King James Version.)


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