the stone is rolled away - day 6 of 10

DAY 6 of 10 - APRIL 15, 2022 Special Devotion Written by Dr. Dan Bolin - Taking a Deeper Look into the Wonder of Easter

The snapshot of Mount Calvary captures the grand drama of history. Suspended between heaven and earth, flanked by two dying criminals, the Son of God bore the punishment for our sins. His agonizing death captured the climactic and inscrutable focal point of all time. In that moment we realize the most glorious and most hideous aspects of our world – and ourselves. Thirty-three years before, a heavenly host of angels had announced the joyous birth of Jesus. He came into this world, fully God and fully man. He became the only bridge between humanity and the divine; the one Way for mankind to be reconciled to God. His dying body became the connection point between God above and the human race below. Now, another huge band of angels stood at the ready, awaiting the command from God the Father to commence the rescue mission to save His one and only Son. Jesus was beaten, mocked, spat upon, humiliated by the very people he had come to save. And now, he was hanging precariously on a Roman cross, uttering a few last words, and breathing his final breaths. The slightest nod from the Father and the army of angles would swoop down, overwhelm the pitiful solders, crush the religious leaders, terrify the fickle crowd, and save Jesus. Yet the command never came. God the Father loved us enough to allow his Son to die in our place. Suspended with his head toward heaven and his feet toward earth, his arms were stretched toward two dying criminals. Justly condemned, they deserved their wretched demise. One mocked Jesus. The other begged for mercy. Luke records the agonizing conversation between the three dying men. Within that theologically and emotionally intense dialogue lies the continuing drama of the human race. 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.” (Luke23:39) Both criminals deserved their punishment, Jesus did not. Both criminals needed a savior, and One was available. One rejected the opportunity and responded with disdain to the very end. The other recognized his unworthiness and cried out for mercy. Jesus responded in love to the one who asked for help. So much theology – so little time! There between heaven and earth – between God and mankind – Jesus hung with a condemned criminal on either side. Those two guilty, dying, helpless criminals are us; they represent everyone who has ever walked this earth. Astonishingly, on that cross, Jesus, this man who has done no wrong took our sin, paid the price, died in our place, and offers us the hope of someday being with him in paradise. And that is the glory of Easter.

Dan Bolin President Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc