Easter Season & Lessons From The Thief On The Cross
Luke 23:39-43 NKJV:
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
If you have only a few minutes to live, what will you want? What will be most important to you?
- Will you find comfort in all the material possessions you acquired during your lifetime?
- Will you find solace in looking at your certificates, diplomas & degrees one more time?
- Will you find security by reading your financial statement?
- Will you find comfort that you attended church as often as you could?
- Will you hope that God will take into account your personal merit & personal good works and allow you to enter His kingdom of Heaven?
WILL ALL OF THESE THINGS MATTER WHEN YOU DIE?
WHAT IF YOU WERE STILL GOING TO HELL DESPITE THE ABOVE ACHIEVEMENTS?
When Jesus was crucified, there were 2 criminals also being crucified with Him.
Both criminals were guilty of their crimes but Jesus Himself was innocent of any wrongdoing.
One of the thieves was repentant, but the other was unrepentant even unto death.
The repentant thief on the cross was a criminal & guilty of his crimes. In his final moments before he died, this thief came to the realization that there was only one thing that was important in this life & in the next – AN ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP & FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
In the thief’s final minutes…
- The thief understood & confessed that he was a sinner who deserved to be punished not only for his crimes on earth but also for his sins against God (Luke 23:40, 41)
- The thief believed that Jesus was not only perfect and innocent, but that Jesus was the Messiah being crucified for the sins of mankind (Luke 23:41)
- The thief believed that Jesus was the only way by which he could enter God’s kingdom and not because of his own personal merit or works. He knew that Jesus was not an ordinary Man. He knew Jesus had a Kingdom and he asked Jesus to remember him. (Luke 23:42)
- The thief believed that his salvation is by God’s grace and Christ responded to his faith by promising the thief that he will enter Paradise (Luke 23:42, 43). The thief knew that he could not enter Heaven on the basis of his own merits. He was a criminal. He knew that only the grace of the Lord would allow him into God’s kingdom.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Titus 3:5 NKJV
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
IF JESUS COULD SAVE A CRIMINAL – WILL HE NOT SAVE YOU?
I once read a poster image that said the following: “IF JESUS DIED FOR PERFECT PEOPLE – THEN HEAVEN WOULD BE EMPTY”
In Luke 5:31,32 Jesus says the following: Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Therefore God’s grace & salvation extends to the worst of the worst kind of people. God’s love and grace extends to thieves, murderers, rapists and all kinds of people. You might be reading this article, and thinking “I’m not worse than a murderer or thief or rapist”. However, you’re still a sinner and fall short of God’s glory and therefore you need Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
The writer of more than half of the New Testament was Paul the Apostle. Paul used to persecute the church and kill Christians, yet God used him for His divine purposes after he repented.
Do you feel as if your sins are unforgivable? Do you feel as if it’s too late to turn to God and receive His salvation?
As long as you are alive, it’s never too late to receive forgiveness and salvation from the Lord. God’s FREE gift and God’s love and grace are still ready to be received by you.
- God LOVES YOU unconditionally & He sent Jesus to die for your sins (John 3:16)
- We are all sinners. There is none righteous and the wages of our sins is death which is eternal separation from God. (Romans 3:23), (Romans 6:23)
- There is no sin too big for God to erase. Jesus died for our sins so that we do not have to suffer eternal separation from God. Therefore as sinners we need Jesus as our personal Lord & Saviour (Romans 6:23), (John 14:6)
- Salvation is a FREE gift from God through Christ. We are saved by God’s GRACE (unmerited kindness) and not by your personal merit or works (Ephesians 2:8)
- We must believe, trust and accept Jesus to be our Lord & Saviour so that we may become children of God; born again; a new creation in Christ (John 1:12, John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17)