You're in the Picture!
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If you were a firstborn, or even a second born child, you may not understand this. But if you came after that in your family, you'll be able to empathize with our third and final born child. His frustration probably came to a head every Christmas when I'd pull out the old family movies...most of which he was not in. He's later observed that the number of photographs taken of a child seems to go down exponentially after the firstborn. It's like for every ten pictures of the first child, maybe there's five of the second, and if you're lucky, one of the third. I can remember that he would sometimes leave the room for a little while during family movies, after patiently watching his older sister and brother's infant antics. When I'd ask him where he was going, he would reply matter-of-factly, "Call me when there's something I'm in."
If we're honest, we know that we are most interested in the pictures we're in! A lot of people have never taken a real personal look at the most important picture in history. Until they realize that they are in the picture. I hope you'll be able to see yourself in this picture today as you've never seen it before.
The scene is the brutal death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross. You can probably bring up a mental image of that scene in your mind. The old spiritual asks, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" Actually, you were. All of us were, represented by one of two men. If you can figure out which one is you, you can figure out whether or not you're going to heaven when you die.
Jesus is being crucified between two hardened criminals. In Luke 23 beginning in verse 39, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says, "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 getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, ‘Today you will be with Me in paradise'."
There's the picture. Those two criminals represent the whole human race. And spiritually, one or the other represents you. Like them, we've all sinned. Our sins may not have been as dramatic, but all of us are rebels against God, running our own lives, doing all kinds of things our way instead of His way. And like those two men, we all deserve the death penalty for what we've done. The Bible clearly states that the penalty for our sin is spiritual death; that's being separated from God forever (Romans 6:23).
And like one of them, many people see Jesus dying on that cross but they don't reach out to Him to be their Savior from their sin. You can reject Him aggressively like that one man, or passively just by simply failing to grab this Rescuer who's come for you. And that may be you at Jesus' cross. You've never really placed your trust in Him as your only hope for getting to heaven.
If that's you, I pray that you will join the other man on the other cross, crying out to Jesus to be your personal Savior. If you want this amazing relationship with this amazing Savior, would you tell Him that right now? You could pray to Him something like this, "Lord, I was made by you and for you. I've lived pretty much without you. I've pretty much run my own life, and I know there's a death penalty. But Lord, I believe you loved me so much you died to take that death penalty for me, and you rose again from the dead so you could give me life. Beginning right now, I turn from the running of my own life and the sin it's produced. Beginning right now, Lord, I am yours."
If that's what you want, then I hope you'll visit our website where I think you'll find very clear guidance on how to be sure you belong to Jesus. It's YoursForLife.net. Or you can call toll free for my booklet Yours For Life at 877-741-1200.
At the moment you open your heart to Jesus, the promise He made on that cross becomes your promise, "You will be with Me in paradise."