Between Two Sinners

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”  But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?  We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

God weaves everything in this world together so perfectly, doesn't He?

It occurred to me recently while reading the crucifixion story in Luke once again that it was surely no coincidence that Jesus was placed between two sinners when He was crucified.  The how and why of that placement were so perfectly ordained by God.  I believe these two sinners represent each and every one of us in the world today.

On the one hand, you have the mocker, the scoffer, the one who can't see the truth that is right in front of Him--just a few feet away.  The Messiah!  This sinner refuses to recognize Him, to see the truth.  Why?  It is the same reason as for those who mock and scoff at the gospel message in our world today:  They don't want to see the truth.

The other sinner, fearing God and recognizing his own sin, repents and believes there on the cross beside Jesus.  Like those of us today in the same position, he asks Jesus to save Him.  And, Jesus does!  Jesus does.  Even while hanging on the cross, Jesus continues to do the Father's will, and grants salvation to the criminal beside Him.  I believe it was a divine appointment.

Why does the second sinner believe?  Why do you believe?

The second criminal answers this question for us in the passage of Scripture above.  He says, "Don't you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?"

Psalms 85:9-11 tells us, "Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.  Unfailing love and truth have met together.  Righteousness and peace have kissed!  Truth springs up from the earth and righteousness smiles down from heaven."

It is the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), and that wisdom cannot be found apart from the Creator.

Jesus the Messiah could return at any time.

Which sinner are you?

Goodnight, Runners.

Comments

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