"Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43)
As Jesus was being executed on Mount Calvary, two criminals were also
being put to death. One of them hurled abuse at Jesus, mocking Him.
The other displayed a different action and a different attitude. He
said to the other criminal, "We indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." He then turned to Jesus and said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!" (Luke 23:41-42). Through this dying criminal's words we see an example that we would do well to follow.
#1--We see an example of owning our own sin and the consequences that it brings. The
criminal says, "We indeed are suffering justly." That's a hard
sentence to get out of my mouth when I'm in pain. "I'm suffering
justly", "I deserve this", "I'm reaping what I've sown". It's true!
Often the difficult experiences of life come my way because of my
previous actions. Occasionally, I may suffer innocently, but not as
often as I would like to think. Someone has said, "We reap tomorrow
what we have sown today." If you are reaping pain, frustration,
heart-ache, etc., maybe double-check the seeds you have planted in prior
#2--We see an example of recognizing the unique holiness of Christ.
The criminal says, "This man has done nothing wrong." Jesus didn't die
for His own sin--He died for my sin! When I'm suffering the
consequences for my stupidity, can I look over and see Jesus suffering
with me? Now this is where it gets real. I sometimes want to blame God
for my pain. Because I don't enjoy suffering, I have in the past
wanted to get upset with God when my plans don't work out well. Like
the criminal I need to say, God has done nothing wrong! God is holy,
perfect, righteous, and He does nothing wrong!
#3--We see an example of faith. The criminal says, "Remember me
when You come into Your kingdom." Knowing that he will soon be dead,
this dying man puts his trust in Jesus. It's comforting that this man
who has no good works to rely upon, no record of church attendance, no
prayer life, no Bible study, no baptism, and no sinner's prayer; this
man is given access to the kingdom of God through the work and word of
Jesus. We are saved through Jesus--nothing more and nothing less!
My friends, determine to own your sin and its consequences. Look to
Jesus as the Perfect Son of God. Put your trust in His finished work on
the cross. Paradise awaits . . .