John 19. 17-18 cont.
17 And carrying His own cross He went out to a place called ‘of the skull’, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
18 where they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side of Him, with Jesus in the middle.
John tells us that Jesus was positioned between two others. In the other gospels we are told that they were thieves, or robbers. Perhaps it is significant that Jesus should be in the middle, since He came to be in the middle of the nation that God had chosen to be His own People; He came into the midst of sinners, so that in His sacrificial death He could save them from their sins.
We know from Luke’s gospel that one of those robbers rejected Jesus, but the other one pleaded for and received the assurance of salvation on that very day.
On the cross Jesus truly fulfilled His mission: to save sinners.
Jesus is still with us, amongst people who recognize that we are sinners needing His sacrificial death to pay the price of our sin.
As far as the Romans were concerned the person who was on the middle cross was guilty of the greatest sin, therefore, by placing Jesus in the middle they were saying that Jesus was the more serious criminal, although Pilate seemed not to agree with this.
However, the real point is that He who knew no sin took upon Himself the sins of the entire world, and in that sense He became the greatest criminal and sinner in all of history. He shouldered all our guilt and sin.
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ – 2 Corinthians 5.21 (NLT).
It is good for us to stop sometimes and consider once again the tremendous fact that Jesus came into the middle of our sin filled world because He loves us so much. It is good for us to stop and ponder on the fact that He died for you and me.
Next time you break bread remember this.