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Three Crosses at Calvary

John 19:18

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There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

John 19:18 NIV

When Jesus was crucified there were two others crucified with him, one on his right, and one on his left. Was there some significance in having one criminal on his right and one on his left? Since all four gospel writers saw fit to include this detail, it would seem to have some importance. But none of the gospels give us a reason for it.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells a parable, and in it, he divides people between his right and left hands, with those on the right entering the kingdom and those on the left cast into hell. In Luke 23:39-43 we find that one of the criminals crucified with Jesus repented and was saved, while the other remained lost. Can these passages teach us something about the other crosses?

Jesus hung on the middle one, the cross of atonement and redemption. Could it be that the repentant thief was on the cross on his right, the cross of repentance? And that the cross on his left is the cross of perdition? In a sense, we are all going to encounter Jesus at the cross. But will it be with repentance, resulting in eternity with Christ? Or will it be with rejection, resulting in eternal damnation?

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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