The Cross He Bore – The King Among Bandits

There is just one day remaining in our thirteen-day read of Frederick Leahy’s The Cross He Bore. Tomorrow we will finish just on time to remember the death of Jesus on Good Friday. Meanwhile, today’s text is Luke 23:33: “And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.”

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Leahy looks at what it means that Jesus was crucified between two bandits, two common criminals. Here is a brief excerpt:


In no way did the Lord resent being placed among such men at Calvary. The quotation from Isaiah 53:12 may literally be translated, “He…let himself be numbered with the transgressors.” He was totally content with his position; we would not have had it otherwise. He knew that his place among these bandits was willed by his Father and his Father’s will was his will. These criminals, placed there by God, were appropriate company at this time for his Son.

Here, too, is the mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility (Acts 2:23), those parallel lines that to our finite minds never meet. Those who try to make them meet succeed only in distorting both. It is possible, but by no means certain, that in heaven the parallel lines will be seen from a different perspective. In this life they must not be tampered with. They are both true and that is enough. Let the people of God praise him that his Son was so placed at Calvary. Let it be maintained that Christ died not as the representative of his people, but in their stead, dying their death that they might live. In a word, he died as their Substitute.