Sunday, October 27, 2013

Three Crosses-A Final Message

Luke 23:40-43
But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” And he said unto him, “Truly I say unto you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.”

The three crosses at the time of the crucifixion of Christ provide a significant lesson.  Yes, the greatest reality is that His death on that cross represents the forgiveness of our sins and the grace that would carry us forward in our walk with Christ.  But Christ provided an example of that message, one that once again re-emphasized his message of love versus our message of condemnation.

Christ was verbally attacked by both robbers who were on opposite sides of him.  They were angry and ridiculed him for not doing anything to save them or himself.  One robber remained hateful and angry, a non-believer who ridiculed Christ and only cared about himself.  Christ did not respond to his taunts with any condemnation or criticism, He ignored him.  But the second man on the cross changed his tone, he went from being critical to defending Christ.  It was clear that he knew who Christ was, that he believed Christ was indeed an innocent man not worthy of the death sentence he had received.  Christ listened to this man and loved him despite the many evil things he had done.  Christ never condemned either man but knew to keep  his silence because in that silence the heart of one of these men would be touched.  That one robber confessed his wrong and accepted deserving the punishment he was receiving.

That is true repentance and true repentance opens the doors to heaven. He not only repented, but asked Christ to remember him, to give  him another chance.  How powerful and emotional is that, in the midst of all the pain and agony they were facing this man recognized the Savior for who he was and had faith that Christ would enter into paradise.  That faith prompted him to say the words, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom".  Amazing, isn't it?  Jesus' response was even more powerful and an example for all to follow.  He didn't lay out a series of actions that this sinner would have to take to make it to heaven, he didn't judge him, he didn't condemn him, he didn't gossip about him, he didn't act like he was better than him...   Jesus simply stated, "Truly I say unto you, today you shall be with me in Paradise".  It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done, recognizing that Christ is the savior allows you to call out and say, Jesus remember me and he will forgive your sins and reserve a place for you in paradise.  Just a little advice to go!

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