Crucified With Christ
by Todd Crouch
Published on April 8, 2023
Categories: Spiritual Growth

Crucified With Christ

By Todd Crouch

 The Apostle St. Paul wrote that he was 

“Crucified With Christ”, (Galatians 2:20a)

What does it mean to be “crucified with Christ”. To better understand what the Apostle was speaking of we can look at two persons who were quite literally “crucified with Christ”.

Each of the Gospel’s accounts mention that with Jesus there upon Calvary, were two others, who were crucified along with our Lord.

The Guilty Two

We are told that these two others, whose specific names are not given in the Gospel accounts, were sentenced to death and led away to be crucified along with Jesus. Two guilty ones along with the One innocent.

These two had spent their lives in breaking the law, it leaves no doubt in the Gospel narratives that the two, who were joined in crucifixion with Jesus, were guilty and that they were receiving the just punishment for their sins.

“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed” Luke 23:32

Yet, in this death sentence, one of them would find life through his encounter with Jesus as they were joined together in crucifixion.

This one-man story is all of our stories. 

It is probable that due to the fame of Jesus that they may each had heard of Jesus though they might never had a personal encounter with him prior to their joint crucifixion. Certainly, their life styles would not have naturally brought them into serious contact with Jesus, yet, now in the drama of Salvation they are thrust together with our Lord and find themselves in the same procession to Calvary, the “Place of the Skull” where they will share crucifixion with Jesus.

They would have seen Jesus beaten and bloodied, walking in the crucifixion procession yet steadfastly accepting and facing the circumstances with pain filled resolution and divine determination.


The three condemned men arrive at the site of execution, that small rocky hill that was along the roadside on the west side of the Holy city of Jerusalem. This little hill in many ways resembled the rough ancient altars erected throughout the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, which were used for sacrifice.

Calvary was a place exposed where all could witness the crucifixion without obstruction.  Here the three men were led and are placed upon the crosses in plain view of all. Each of the two on either side of Jesus.

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.”(26)

 No Wine & Gall

In St. Matthew’s account we are told that Jesus was offered a drink of gall, this was a concoction, which was given to those who were condemned to die on the cross, it numbed the wits and lessen the pain, yet when Jesus knows what it is he refuses to drink it.

“There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it” Matthew 27:34

Jesus would not lessen his own suffering; he would have the full experience of the suffering of crucifixion. Jesus would not avoid the pain, but rather, would look to God and the power of the Holy Spirit to face, for each and all of us, the death that was there at hand. Jesus would know and share the pain of death with and for us all, Jesus would not exempt himself from suffering.

The two malefactors would have been first hand witness of Jesus’ willingness to share our sufferings with nothing to lessen it or diminish it.

Father Forgive Them

As they hung upon and exposed upon the crosses before the assembled onlookers, they hear Jesus utter his prayer pleading all of our cases, not just for those would have falsely accused Jesus, not just for the religious leaders, or the Romans who enacted the crucifixion and even now were casting lots for Jesus’ personal effects, but for us all, including the two crucified with Jesus.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots”. Luke 23:34

Only St. Luke records these words of Jesus asking for forgiveness, they encompass more than is possible to convey, they are all at once intersession and Jesus’ mission, his purposes and his accomplishment as well of an invitation that is extended to any who will freely receive it.

Railed At

The Gospel accounts tell us that even as the prayer of forgiveness is uttered by Jesus and leaves his lips the assembled crowed of religious leaders and soldiers begins to rail against him and hurl insults at him.

“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.(35-37)

St. Matthew records that even those condemned with Jesus insult him along with the rest of the crowd.

“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” In the same way the malefactors who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him”. Matthew 27:39-44

A Change Comes

Here upon Calvary, as all seemed to have abandoned Jesus, as insults and curses are heaped upon him and his enemies laugh Jesus to scorn, there occurs a miraculous change in the heart and mind of one of those who hung upon the cross alongside Jesus.

The Scripture does not give us what specifically happens in this man’s heart and mind but his view of Jesus begins to be transformed even here as he hangs dieing. Perhaps it was the way that Jesus bore the insults, or in that he faced his death boldly or maybe it was Jesus’ plea for forgiveness for those who were behind the crucifixion but something changes in this man’s heart and mind toward Jesus.

This Crucified man begins to see in Jesus even there upon the cross his as his means of salvation, that something which transcends the moment is taking place, something, which betrays the apparent death of an upstart Rabbi, that reaches beyond the confines of this age and this world, something of eternal import is happening and this man is part of it, and all of it is centered upon the person of Jesus.

This Crucified man then rebukes his fellow criminal for his sneering insults of our Lord, and his self-desire to be set free from his situation. Yet, this man then confesses his own sin and acknowledges his own guilt while proclaiming that Jesus is undeserving of this cruel fate of the cross.

” One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? 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.” Luke 23:39-40 

His Prayer to Jesus

In all the world on that day there is recorded only one person whose prayer was directed to Jesus Christ. A prayer for the salvation of a man who through his encounter with Jesus came to acknowledge that he was a sinner and now understood his need for the Savior, he looked to Jesus and asked that he might share in eternal life and in so doing, Jesus gives this crucified man affirmation that he would be in God’s Kingdom living with His Lord.

“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”(42-43)

These were last record words recorded between Jesus and this man, that tells us nothing more need be said. This Crucified man believed in Jesus and his eternal life is secured.

This man knew there is nothing that he can do to save himself, he was completely reliant upon Jesus and his grace. There are no works that he can perform nor any others self-availed of actions which will result in his salvation, he can only look to Jesus.

Being Crucified with Christ means that we come to see our own works are not sufficient to save us, that we are as helpless as that man upon the cross, we can only look to Jesus.

 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

 Crucified With Christ

Though this man was dyeing physically yet he came to life spiritually. This man became crucified with Christ, this tells us that we cannot look upon a crucified man without seeing the cross. That is, there is a transformation in the life of such a one, that is obvious that they have come to experience the reconciliation and redemption of the Cross of our Lord. That others sees we are a life redeemed by Jesus

 Even in the brief narrative of the Gospels we witness a powerful transformation in the life and death of this man. He no longer needed to fear death his Lord is with him through it and in it.

This is what St. Paul meant when he said that he bore the makes of the Lord in his own body. That means that St. Paul reckoned himself as being crucified with Jesus and he lived out of that crucifixion in a transformed lifeSt. Paul came to believe and look to Jesus and his life was transformed.

“for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus”. Galatians 6:17b

 For Us

 This man’s story is all of our stories. At some point, there is a transformation of our hearts when we come to look to Jesus. We, like this man, realize our guilt and confess it , and acknowledging to Jesus our need for him; and when we do we experience the forgiveness that is there for us. 1 John 1:9

 We see Jesus as that One who has shared our humanity both in life and in death. Who tasted death for us all and bore the sin of each and all of us.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyoneHebrews 2:9

We can rest in the accomplished work of our Lord for each of us. In Jesus we have been crucified, that is we have died in him so we might live with him. 

 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we have considered that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

 The heart of St. Paul’s message was about the Salvation that Jesus has secured for any who will receive it. St. Paul preached with the focus upon Jesus and all that He is and has accomplished for us all, if we will but freely receive it. St. Paul understood that this was central accomplishment of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus has on the cross joined himself to us and we to him. Jesus has done what he spoke of to the Disciples in St. John’s Gospel.

‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.John 12:32

St. Paul knew that the Cross of Jesus takes away all of humanities excuses from knowing the great God, so he preached boldly to all.

   “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.1 Corinthians 2:2

The Other Man

What we see presented in the Gospel accounts is, that all of humanity has a choice to embrace and look to Jesus and be transformed by him as we all share in his crucifixion or to continue on in our own ways with our primary concern is for the life of the flesh.

Though being crucified with Jesus’ humanity can still turn its eyes away from the only one who is our Savior. This man represents those who refused to look to our Lord though he be near to them and willing to have them with Him in eternity, for these ones the hostility in their own minds toward our Lord have kept them from receiving the salvation that is offered them in Jesus. 

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind due to the hostility in your own heartsColossians  1:21

The One Crucified With Jesus

We see one last mention of those who were with Jesus crucified in the Gospel of St. John. The soldiers are dispatched to break the legs of Jesus and the other two men so  that they would die quickly and be removed from the crosses so that their bodies would not be there for a High Sabbath day which was coming. But when they arrive at Calvary, they find that Jesus is already dyed. St. John describes it this way. 

That one man, the “first man”, is described as being “crucified with Jesus”, this is the man who came to believe and trust in Jesus and “the other” is the one who, looked only for his own benefit of escape.

“The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other” John 19:32

 One man is having been designated as being “crucified with Jesus”, but not the other. This first man is that one who came to believe and looked to Jesus and therefore he shared in his crucifixion, that is, being found in his death, that he will also be found in his life. This is far more than just a joint sharing in an execution but speaks to this man’s profound spiritual transformation when he trusted Jesus as his Savior.

When we came to believe in Jesus, when we recognized our need and inability to save ourselves and understand that we can only turn our eyes to the Cross of our Lord and cry out to him, we can experience being crucified, the old life is dead we come to life spiritually regardless of the physical limitation that we might be in. When we come to look to Jesus alone, then we are as St. Paul wrote “Crucified with Christ”…

Benediction: May we each and all ever look to our Lord Jesus and be Crucified with Christ, today, tomorrow and forevermoreAmen!

Todd Crouch is Currently the Pastor of the Topinabee Community Church, in Topinabee, MI. He Was the Long Time Host of The Fountain of Life Broadcast, which was aired and on RKP Radio in Washington, PA and streamed around the world. He is a Fourth Degree Master Rank Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and is a certified Tae Kwon Do instructor of Moke’s Martial Arts—Asian American Martial Arts Alliance. Todd studied Theology and Pastoral Ministry at Grace Communion Seminary. He is also a student of Church History, the America Civil War and Scottish History. He and his wife love to travel and the beach. They live in the Straits Area of Michigan. View Todd’s complete profile

Feature Photo by Wallpaper Safari


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