Tuesday, July 23, 2013

the faith of a thief‏

Luke 23:32-43

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals,one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
I never before realized the magnitude of the thief’s faith.
Both thieves/criminals were looking for salvation:
The first said, “Save yourself and us too!”
The second said, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
The first thought salvation was through circumstances.
The second believed salvation was through Jesus.
The second criminal knew that he and Jesus and the other criminal were dying. He was under no delusion that they were going to survive this ordeal. His appeal was not be released from the penalty of his wrongdoing, but to be released from the eternal weight of his separation from Jesus. He acknowledged that Jesus was the only one dying that day without sin.
He believed Jesus was not dying, but becoming the King of the universe.
He believed in eternal life and both he and Jesus being somewhere soon once this death business was done. He believed Jesus would be there in power because of Who He was and is and was going to be ever after.
He believed that Jesus’ remembrance of him was more meaningful than being removed from the weight of his current circumstances.
He agreed with God that Jesus was good and he was not.
Three men died that day:
One died IN his sin.
One died TO his sin.
One died FOR sin.

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