Slideshow image

Last week we discussed the first of the things Jesus said from the Cross during His crucifixion. And today, we’ll look at the essence of our salvation from the mouth of our Savior. Two criminals were crucified next to Jesus on that fateful day so many years ago. They were being punished for crimes against the state, and both had been found guilty. We know that this is accurate, because one of the condemned said so. You’ll remember in the passage that both of them hurled insults at Jesus, trying to get Him to invoke His sovereignty and do something about their pain, suffering, and imminent death.

But after a time, one of the criminals has a change of heart. He rebukes the other condemned man by saying something like this: “Knock it off! You and I are getting what we deserve. But this man has done nothing!” Of course this isn’t exactly what he said, but in modern times, it would be accurate. But the powerful part of this passage comes next. Immediately after rebuking the other criminal, this other guy turns to Jesus and says something like this: “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” It is both a statement and a hopeful request. Jesus is incredible in this moment. He immediately forgets about Himself, and answers the man. It is an answer for the man’s immediate need, and it has nothing to do with his crucifixion. Jesus is more concerned for the man’s eternity, and the man is as well. He clearly recognizes Who Jesus is, and what it means. Notice the man no longer asks for Jesus to get him out of this situation. He asks Jesus to take him to eternal glory. Jesus answers immediately: “I tell you the truth. TODAY you will be with me in Paradise.” Friends, none of us know exactly what Paradise is. But we do know, that it is in the presence of Christ. The most important thing to understand from this conversation, is that our salvation is directly connected to the condemned man’s request and Jesus’ beautiful response.

I was thinking how fitting this part of the Scripture is this week. Easter is the culmination of God’s promises to us through our faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have been in “criminal” status. And every single one of us has asked Jesus to save us. His answer is the same as it was to the condemned man at Calvary. And while the man remained condemned in the society he lived in, he was completely exonerated and forgiven in God’s Kingdom, through his faith in Jesus as his Savior, for all eternity. Friends, that is the hope of every person who seeks the Lord Jesus Christ; and it is the loving answer from Jesus for our faith in Him...every single time. What an honor and privilege to know Jesus! Amen?

Love and prayers,

Dr. D.