Read Luke 23
The mock trials, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Don't miss a word of this soul-stirring description of how Jesus carried all our shame and sin in order to save us. Praise the Lord for His great love (Luke 24:46-47)!
There was probably malice in the arrangement by which Jesus was hung between the two thieves. Yet there was a divine purpose behind the wrath of man. Jesus had come to identify Himself with sinners, and He had lived among them with open arms for all who desired to follow Him. Even in death, His arms were spread open to receive the one thief who prayed for mercy.
On one cross was a hardened criminal who sank deeper into sin as he defied and railed upon the Savior. On the other cross was a man who, at first, blasphemed Christ along with the other criminal (Matt. 27:44). Then, in the presence of the chief priests and scribes and an angry skeptical crowd, he could no longer resist Christ. He turned to the crucified Christ and exclaimed: Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom (Luke 23:42).
There is no reason to doubt that this thief was a great sinner and deserved to die. But he sought the mercy of God and was saved. There are only two kinds of people — those who continue to reject the Lord and those who accept Him as their Savior and Lord. For one there is the certainty of eternal damnation, for the other the promise of everlasting life (Rom. 6:23). Just as Jesus' mercy is sufficient for Matthew, the publican, Mary Magdalene, and this thief, it is sufficient for all: The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).
Christians rejoice in the cross of Christ because it was there that He paid the price for our redemption. We rejoice also in the resurrection of Christ, for it assures us of our heavenly home with Him: That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7). We have the assurance that the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (I Cor. 15:52). This is the great and glorious assurance of every Christian, the comfort at the graveside of a loved one, the victory that removes the sting of death, and the anticipation that we too shall be like Jesus.
It is wonderful to know we have been forgiven of all our sins (I John 1:9) and have the assurance of soon being with Christ (John 14:1-3). But until that time, we can praise Him that we have been set free from the power of sin (Rom. 6:10-11). We can live in that deliverance by faith. The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (I Cor. 1:18).
Thought for Today:
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed (Is. 53:5).
For Luke 23:30: See Hos. 10:8. Luke 23:34: See Ps. 22:18.
23:5 Jewry the Judean region; 23:19 for . . . sedition for having started a riot; 23:23 instant insistent or persistent; 23:29 paps breasts; 23:32 malefactors criminals, ones who do evil; 24:29 far spent almost over.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash • Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. John Barrow (GA) and Gov. Luis Fortuno (PR) • Country: Cote d'Ivoire (16 million) in western Africa • Major languages: French and over 60 native dialects • Religious freedom • 40% animist; 25% Muslim; 10% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Let your faith in the Word of God overrule all fears (Prov. 3:6).
Memory Verse for the Week: