by Buzz Dahlen
What was the whole crucifixion and resurrection all about? What was the purpose of it all? The bottom line is forgiveness. Lets look at what happened…
First, there was Judas: And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?" Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you." Matt. 26:21-25
Then there was Peter; Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same. Matt. 26:31-35
We know that both these men did Jesus as Jesus said that they would. He was fully aware of what they were going to do before they did it and in Peter’s case, before he knew he was going to do it.
Then came the crucifixion and while Jesus was hanging on the cross, he was focused on forgiveness. Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:32-34 And what about those two criminals, didn’t they both deserve what they were getting? Sure, they did, but Jesus was about forgiveness. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23” 39-43
So, what happened to all of these sinners? Jesus forgave them all. The important question is, “did they accept their forgiveness?” Lets look back… Judas didn’t. He could not bare the weight of his sin and chose to hang himself. Peter did. He accepted God’s forgiveness and went on to minister, and share the truth of God’s grace with others. One thief did and was actually the first person to accept God’s free gift of salvation. The other thief didn’t and died, forced to pay for his own sins. That leaves you and me. We all have to ask ourselves, “Have I accepted God’s forgiveness?” Have you? Your sins have all been paid for. God knew all of our sins and forgave them all when Jesus died on the cross. Now all that is left is for you to accept our forgiveness, can you? Or, will you be like those who were not able to accept God forgiveness? Jesus chose to die for your sins, now the choice is yours, whether or not to accept His forgiveness.