The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for October 15, 2014

Where Were You On That Day?

When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [Then Jesus said, “Father forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.
The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”
An inscription was above Him “This Is The King Of The Jews”
Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Luke 23:33-43 (HCSB)
People watched Jesus’ every move, scrutinized His every breath, and continually canvassed the heavens in expectation of Elijah–another savior. People were filled with self-righteousness, misguided innocence, and the self-appointed title “protectors of the faith.” People sneered expressions of anger and contempt while ridiculing His divine call.
Those standing before the crucified Christ today are no different. They watch Him move in and out of their communities; they challenge His claims and His witness. They misunderstand His offer of salvation, and often look to other ways to accomplish what only He can give. They are filled with pride and false innocence, and remain indifferent to the Church.
There were soldiers–mocking and taunting the Savior, they inflicted painful blows, spoke cruel antagonisms, and displayed hateful sensibilities. They divided His garments and gambled for His belongings. They made an offering–not a self-giving, sacrificial offering–but the offering of sour wine.
On one side of Jesus hung a blasphemer–an example of a man whose only commonality with the Savior was that he too was dying on a cross. In pain the blasphemer was desperate to be freed from such a cruel death. In anger he hurled insults intended to win his release.
On the other side of Jesus there was another criminal–a common thief. A man who, according to Matthew 27:44, was not totally innocent himself. Convicted and sentenced to death like the blasphemer, the man on the other side of Jesus had lived the same sinful life as his counterpart. But at the critical moment, this criminal rose above his life of crime and looked to Jesus in repentance. He received all that he asked for and more–including the promise of paradise–a promise received by all who profess Jesus as Lord.
The sign above Jesus’ head acknowledged His place in the middle. The marks on His back paid the price for Him to be there. The nails in His hands and feet secured Him there. And those around the cross, those like you and me, mandated His being there.

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