The story of the Crucifixion never gets old. Jesus, when taken before Herod and Pilate, was found faultless by both rulers, yet they crucified Him anyway because of the people’s demand. You have to wonder what Pilate really thought about Jesus. He had the inscription put on the cross that said, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.’ It was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. This didn’t make the chief priests happy. They wanted it to say, “He said He was the King of the Jews,” but Pilate wouldn’t change it. Someday we will find out what exactly Pilate was thinking.
During the time before the crucifixion, so many of the weaknesses of the disciples were exposed. Judas was revealed as the betrayer and went to perdition. The disciples were worried about who it was that would betray Jesus on one hand, but on the other they were also arguing about who would be sitting on His right and left hand in His kingdom. Peter was quick to declare he was ready to die for the Lord only to be told he would deny the Lord three times before the rooster crowed. When the Lord asked them to pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane, none of them could even stay awake.
The disciples were just men, ordinary men, but men drawn to follow One who was extraordinary. They believed Him to be the Son of God, but they forgot that He told them He must be crucified and rise on the third day. Perhaps they thought He would set up His kingdom then, in their lifetimes. Followers of Jesus, yes, but they were easily discouraged. When He was crucified, they were ready to go fishing or walk the road to Emmaus.
It is pretty clear that the Lord didn’t come to choose the strong to follow him. No, He chose the foolish to confound the wise. Of the two criminals who were crucified beside Jesus, one tried to manipulate Him saying, “If you’re the Son of God save yourself, and us too,” but the other rebuked the first. He reminded him that they were being punished for crimes they had committed, but Jesus had done nothing wrong. To Jesus this criminal said, “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.” To whom Jesus responded, “This day you will be with me in Paradise.”
It’s simple to be saved. Confess you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and ask Him to forgive you. The second criminal did that and was saved. No other test for him to take or work for him to do. He didn’t have to be baptized first, no. He was with the Lord that day in Paradise. He is still with Him.
After the resurrected Jesus appeared to them, the disciples waited in Jerusalem as instructed for 40 days. Then they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. They then went on to do many things, that are recorded in the book of Acts, and all of the New Testament. They did so by the power of the Holy Spirit in and on them, and so can we do all things by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in and on us!