NEW IN THE MIDST OF TWO THIEVES
In the gospel according to John chapter 19, “They took Jesus therefore: and he went out, bearing the cross for himself, unto the place called The Place Of A Skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him, and with him two others, that Mark identifies as thieves, and Jesus in the midst.” Mark informs us at that time the scripture was fulfilled in Isaiah 53:12 “And he was numbered with the transgressors.”
Jesus had a police record in Jerusalem. And the Devil must have thought the dying between two thieves would add to the shame of dying on the cross. But Jesus to Jesus the bearing of the cross was the instrument of victory over the tyranny of death. Jesus had predicted in Matthew 16, “Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Jesus used the cross as a battering ram to knock the gates of Hades off its hinges, and the insult of two thieves dying on crosses with Jesus added glory to the cross in the salvation of the one was crucified with him.
In fact the salvation of the one thief may be looked upon as a greater miracle than the breaking of the rocks in the earthquake the moment Jesus died.
Jesus did not die between two apostles or two prophets, lest some would worship them, and share the glory of Christ with others. Jesus is the one who died for me, and when he died for me, he died for all my sins, and there was not even one left to be burned off in the imaginary fires, of an imaginary purgatory.
So look at the three crosses again. On one cross was the Savior, on one cross was the sinner saved, and on the other cross was the sinner damned. Jesus was not crucified on the altar in the Temple, where his blood mingled with the blood of lambs; he was crucified on the cross where his blood was mingled with the blood of thieves.
It is true that Jesus died for the transgressor, but the two thieves were not the only transgressors. Paul says in 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “Him who knew no sin was made to be sin on our behalf; that we might be made the righteousness of God through him.” The bottom line of the crucifixion for us is that Jesus was numbered with the transgressors, that we might be numbered among the names of the redeemed in the Lamb’s Book of Life.