Friday, June 3, 2011

A Tale of Two Criminals

We probably all know someone who's walking down the wrong path at the moment, and desperately needs to know Jesus as their Savior. Perhaps that person is in your own family, or one of your closest friends. For some, this unsaved loved one has taken such wrong turns, it may seem they're too far gone for redemption. Maybe you've prayed for years, and believed God for a miracle, and yet all you've seen is heartbreak.

I was reminded this week of the story of the two thieves who hung on the cross alongside of Jesus. "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23:39-41

It's like a tale of two criminals. We don't know the details of their crime, but here's what we do know:
  • They're both guilty and deserving of punishment
  • They're both watching Jesus as He's going through His horrible ordeal
Their response is completely different:
  • One mocks Him and says if you're the Savior, save yourself AND us! (Still self-absorbed to the very end)
  • The other realizes that Jesus is not only innocent, but has the fear of the Lord come on him - no doubt he respects the way Jesus is taking punishment for a crime He didn't commit. (Remember, people are watching how we live as well.)
Then, something happened that opened the door to faith, as this thief realized Jesus was no ordinary man. He believed that He was who He claimed to be, and with his last moments on this earth, he spoke the words that would forever change his destiny...

"Remember ME when you come into Your kingdom" Luke 23:42

Jesus heard his plea (just like He hears our prayers for lost loved ones) and He answered "Today you will be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:43

So don't give up hope – pray for their eyes to be open, the fear of the Lord will be on them, and they will ask God to REMEMBER them so they can enter into His kingdom!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Angie. I love that Jesus gave that man His blessing and allowed Him to enter into the Kingdom. That is beautiful.

    What a message of HOPE!

    Love you,