October 31, 2011
The Central Place of Shame
“Two thieves, one on His right hand, and one on His left …
He was numbered with transgressors.”
We can scarcely begin to measure the malice of men against Christ. That is because it was something more than simply the natural hatred of the human heart against God. This was man’s hour and an hour in which the power of darkness could accomplish whatever it wished. As a result, the fire of human hatred against God was stoked hotter than ever by the millennia-long hostility of Satan to God. Satan finally could “get his hands” on God. All the rage of his evil heart, all the malice of his evil imagination now had a visible tangible object upon which to vent itself. His hour had finally come!
Any manner in which Satan could increase the abuse of Christ was open to Him. Every stratagem to multiply the shame and dishonor was part of his game plan. With what fiendish delight and satisfaction Satan plotted the hour. The steps in the scenario would be something such as this: arrested and accused as a thief, a perverter of the people. Then rejected in place of a thief and murderer. Next, linked with malefactors and numbered amongst them. But as though this was not enough shame to surround the Son of God with, Satan would see that Christ was given the central place amidst the three crosses. Every eye would funnel toward the center; every mind would conjecture that this Man must be the worst among the three, the most deserving of death.
Imagine the grief to natural parents when the name of a child is listed in the local newspapers as being a criminal! Yet were we able to read the chronicles of April 3, AD33, we would find listed among the names of criminals worthy of death, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Earth’s justice system deemed Him as worthy to be “numbered amongst transgressors.”
1. Men gave Christ the central place among the three. How did Christ turn that to advantage? The worst that men could do was always turned to blessing for someone! The sovereignty of God always seeks the blessing of men.
2. Supposing Christ had been numbered amongst His followers, rather than amongst criminals. Supposing Peter and John had been crucified with Him, do you think that some religions might claim that Peter and John also shared some of the judgment for sin that Christ endured? Can you see how God used a forsaken Christ to guarantee that no one could claim any part of that work?