When we think of the crucifixion we often only think of the cross of Jesus, and with good reason, for it was on that cross that our Saviour bled and died, and through His shed blood our sins can be washed away. It was on that cross that Christ cried out with His final breath; John 19:30 ‘When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished’, with that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit’ It was on that cross that salvation was sealed for all who believe on His Name and repent and receive Christ as their Saviour; John 1:12 ‘Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believe in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God’, and it was on that cross that satan's destiny was also sealed.
On one side of Jesus there was a criminal who just like the crowds hurled insults at Him, and the Lord showed me that this was how people of the world would respond when they are in trouble, that they would question God's authority and even blame Him for the mess they had caused and got themselves into and would want Him to get them out of it. Not because they acknowledged Him as Lord but so they could get on with their sinful lives and have no more to do with Him until the next mess they would get themselves into. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals hurled insults at Him. 'Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!' If Jesus had taken this criminal off the cross then the criminal would more than likely have gone back to his old life of crime as there was no repentance in his heart.
On the other side of Jesus was the other criminal which the Lord indicated to me was also a picture of the world, but this criminal depicted how people would respond who recognised and came to a realisation of who Jesus is, and understand their need for the forgiveness of their sins. The criminal on this cross rebuked the other criminal, Luke 23:40-41 '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’. Unlike the first criminal this one accepted he was a sinner and needed forgiveness, so he looked at Jesus and said; Luke 23:42-43 'Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom’. Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise’.
Both criminals deserved their punishment, they were both found guilty of their crime and justly sentenced to death by crucifixion. But in their last moments on earth one criminal refused to acknowledge his guilt and sin and rejected Christ, whilst the other accepted his guilt and punishment and acknowledged he was a sinner and that Jesus was the Saviour, the sinless Lamb of God, repented and asked Jesus to remember him when He comes into His Kingdom. The result was that one criminal went to hell while the other went with Jesus to paradise.
Today the decision for us is exactly the same. Ask yourself this question: Am I like the criminal who hurled insults at Jesus, or am I like the one who acknowledged Christ and who He was? The answer to that question could just determine your final destination.
John 1:10-13 ‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognise Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God’.
Luke 24:6 '…..HE IS RISEN…….'. Amen.
Author: Kevin Hunt
May God bless and enrich your life
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