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TRUST IN JESUS YOUR SAVIOUR
39One of the criminals who was suspended kept up a railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ (the Messiah)? Rescue Yourself and us [[m]from death]!
40But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty?
41And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing [n]strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable].
42Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory!
43And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.
Two of the characters of the scene at Calvary were the two thieves. The Romans carried out a large number of crucifixions, but these two men, were chosen to be crucified alongside the sinless Son of God, at the greatest event of history.. amen
In them, we can see the two responses to Jesus given by men through the ages. My friends, the responses given today are still the same.. you either accept Jesus or reject him, there is no middle ground.. amen
Let us look at these two thieves. I am going to spend longer looking at the second thief
The first thief
There are certain things that strike you about this man
He thought of Himself
He was an angry man
He thought of temporary things
Many people today are like this. I wonder if you are railing against God for your situation? Maybe you blame God for all the misfortune in your life.. I certainly hope not.
Let us look at the response of the second thief and how we should respond to Jesus
The Second thief
Hanging there on the cross, must have concentrated this man's mind on the man on the middle cross, who was like no one he had ever seen before. And this thief recognised certain things about Him, that led him to put his faith and trust in Him and we must recognise the same things.
He recognised God was someone to be feared vs 40
We must realise that God is holy.. he will not and cannot look upon sin. He is a consuming fire Hebrews 12:29
It was the holiness of God that had to be satisfied at Calvary. The unblemished Son of God was the perfect sacrifice that had to be offered. God's holiness demanded a perfected sacrifice for sin. God's anger at sin was poured out on His only Son at the cross. God the Father was merciless to His son at the cross, not because He didn't love Him, but because His Son was the scapegoat for sin and shouldered the burden for the sin of the whole world.
This is why we read in Isaiah 53
4Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
10Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick.
He recognised he was under the righteous judgment of God vs40-41
We all stand under God's judgment, because of Adam's sin, we are all infected by the stain of Sin. Man is under God's judgment, because of sin and his/her refusal to accept Jesus. No one is exempt from this judgement, The only way to escape this is to trust Jesus as Your Saviour.. amen
12Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [[a]no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.
He recognised God's Justice vs 41
He recognised His sin vs 41
Note that he took personal responsibility for his actions. He did not blame them on anyone else. We need as a first step to acknowledge our sin and accept that we are responsible for it.
He recognised that Jesus was Unique and sinless vs 41
Once we have recognised our sin before a Holy God, we must recognise that Jesus is the only perfect sacrifice for sin. He is the pure and unblemished Son of God, who has not even had one impure thought. He is completely sinless and perfect in thought, word and deed.. amen
The apostle Peter, who spent lots of time around Jesus , wrote these beautiful words
1 Peter 1
18You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold,
19But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.
He acknowledged the Lordship of Christ
That one single word acknowledged, signified a lot. The second thief realised that Jesus was and is Lord of all.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we read these words.
.3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
The truth of this is shown later by Paul in his epistle to the Romans in Chapter 10
9Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
11The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.
He asked that Jesus remembered Him
Matthew Henry states that
Observe his humility in this prayer. All that he requests is " Lord, remember me". All that he begs is, Lord, remember me, showing himself to Christ in a way that displays his humbleness.
Isn't this the plea of the true repentant sinner. Is this your plea? Full of humility and repentance. Even for the Christian, coming before the throne of grace for forgiveness , this should be his/her plea.
The response of Jesus
We are going to just look at the four P's in Verse 43
There was a Promise- Truly I tell you
There was a Person- You will be with me
There was a place- Paradise (heaven )
There is a permanence- Because Jesus is eternal.. amen
I wish to leave you with one last question. Which one of these men are you?
I am not saying any of you are thieves, but we are all sinners.. amen.
Jesus said nothing to the first thief, but to the second one He gave eternal life.
Because he acknowledged his sin and acknowledged the Lordship of Christ.
Also because he humbled himself and was prepared to Ask the Lord for it.. are you willing to humble yourself?
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