Title: “Three Crosses” – Sermon by Bishop Ron Bowell (August 6, 2023)
In his compelling sermon “Three Crosses”, Bishop Ron Bowell dives into the powerful biblical narrative depicted in Luke 23:32-43, where Jesus and two criminals were crucified on Calvary. Using this poignant episode, Bishop Bowell illuminates the distinct attitudes towards sin and salvation demonstrated by the three individuals on the crosses.
Bowell describes the three crosses as representations of three attitudes:
The first thief, dying IN sin, represents those who refuse to recognize their sinful state and reject the salvation offered through Jesus. Bowell draws parallels from Genesis 3:1 and Matthew 27:39, 42-43, illustrating how this attitude is characterized by hardened hearts and spiritual ignorance.
The second thief, dying TO sin, signifies those who acknowledge their sinful nature and accept Christ’s gift of salvation. Using this thief’s plea for remembrance in Luke 23:40-42, Bowell highlights the call to die to our sins, as stated in Romans 6:2.
Finally, the Savior, Jesus Christ, dying FOR sin embodies the divine sacrifice made to redeem humanity from its sinful nature. Drawing on Luke 23:43, Romans 5:6,8, 1 Peter 3:18, and 2 Corinthians 5:15, Bowell emphasizes the unfathomable love that led Christ to die for the unrighteous, bringing them to God.
According to Bowell, the three crosses ultimately divide humanity into two categories: those who reject Christ and die in their sins, and those who accept Christ, dying to their sins to live anew.
This sermon provides a vivid exploration of our attitudes towards sin and the Savior’s sacrifice, challenging us to reflect on which thief we align with and how we respond to Christ’s sacrificial love.