The Double Cross
I was walking through a Ukrainian graveyard when I stopped to inspect a mound of fresh earth. Marking the grave was a cross made of new wood. One arm of the cross was horizontal, and beneath this was a second arm with one end tilted up, and the corresponding end pointed down.
I asked a local friend what was the significance of the second arm. "The horizontal arm," he explained, "reminds us of a cross upon which Christ died, and the lower arm that has one end tilting upwards heaven representing the thief who was crucified with Jesus and who cried out, 'Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'" "And the end that points toward hell," he said, "reminds us that the other thief mocked Jesus and died without hope."
Three men died on that day, long ago. One died for sin; one died in sin; and one died to sin, but all three were there because of sin. It is the force of the prepositions for, in or to that makes all the difference. Jesus Christ died for sin. Paul put it like this: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
What happened on the first Good Friday brings a resounding "Yes" for all who believe that Christ bore our sins in His body when He died, and cried out, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
To understand that there is a remedy to the disease that fills graveyards takes away the sting of death. The message of the double cross in a Ukrainian graveyard captures the very essence of the Gospel.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:21