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“They crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the centre.”
JESUS IN THE CENTRE! Today we think of two more ways in which we can say that the Lord Jesus was in the centre as He hung on the cross:
3. HE WAS IN HE CENTRE AS FAR AS THE NATIONS WERE CONCERNED. In John 19:19-20 we are told, “Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS, and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.” Jerusalem, of course, was a very cosmopolitan city, with many trade routes passing through it. Thus it was necessary for the title over the head of the Lord to be in three languages.
We know that the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross opened the door of salvation to ANYONE, although this was a difficult concept for the disciples to take in. There was much controversy in the early church about whether or not Gentiles could be saved. It took a thrice repeated vision before Peter was willing to go to the house of Cornelius, a Roman, and share the gospel with him and his household. (See Acts 10.) See also Revelation 5:9 on this point which shows us the cosmopolitan crowd that is singing the Lord’s praises in heaven.
4. HE WAS IN THE CENTRE AS FAR AS THE AGES WERE CONCERNED. We have seen throughout our meditations that the cross was central in the purposes of God and the death of our Immanuel on the cross is the great dividing line between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, the age of the law and the age of grace.
The Old Covenant centred in the law as given to Moses and the round of sacrifices as revealed at the same time as the law. Throughout that time, all the prophecies, types and shadows were pointing forward to the Seed of the woman who would bruise Satan’s head.
In Hebrews 10:9 the writer says of God, “He takes away the first that He may establish the second.” God always had in mind, even before He created the earth, that His Son was going to come into the world and make the final sacrifice for sins so that whoever receives Him by faith will not perish but have eternal life.
We might be tempted to think that the birth of the Lord was the beginning of the age of grace but that is not so. We are not saved by faith in His birth or His life. We are saved through faith in His death for us, His blood shed for us, the once-for-all sacrifice He made for us on the cross. And when He died there, the age of grace was immediately ushered in.