A Last Minute Redemption 2

“One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him,
saying, ‘Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’
But the other responded, and rebuking him, said,
‘Do you not even fear God,
since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
And we indeed are suffering justly,
for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes;
but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he was saying,
‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!’
And He said to him,
‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’”
Luke 23:39-43 (NASB)

This is a story that magnifies the great redemptive work of the Good Shepherd. Never, during His earthly ministry, did the Son of God appear to be so lacking in power or control. He seemed to be totally at the mercy of His enemies.

Yet in such a dire situation, when it appeared that others were in control of Jesus, He proved once more that He is Master of every scene in life. Jesus said of His mission that He came to seek and save the lost. The repentant thief certainly was lost! Jesus sought and saved that man while dying for his sins!

But what was it about Jesus on the cross that attracted the thief to Him? Why would the thief think that Jesus was a King and would survive death to reign in His kingdom someday down the road? Are there details to be seen and heard at Golgotha that help us as they helped the criminal that day? I see several things that the Holy Spirit may have used to draw the thief to the Friend of sinners.

First, Jesus’ repeated prayer to His Father that He would forgive the executioners. Such love toward murderers seems extraordinary indeed, especially when the One doing the praying was innocent!

Those who crowded around the cross to mock Jesus confessed He saved others and called on Him to save Himself. The thief learned that Jesus had a reputation for saving people, and that fact would bolster his shaky faith.

Then there was the sign over Jesus’ head that stated He was King of the Jews. So that stated He was a King, and so had a kingdom.

There were other things used by the Holy Spirit that day, but that is enough to show the glory of the Son of God—even in such a dark time in human history. My reader, do you not marvel at such a glorious Person? Do these few thoughts not leave you “lost in wonder, love and praise”?

Come to Him today and sing praises to Him Who loved you and gave Himself for you. You are precious in His sight and He will never leave or forsake you. He will indeed “remember” you as surely as He remembered the repentant thief that momentous day so long ago.

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