3 Powerful Words When You Need Hope at Easter
- Betsy de Cruz Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2017 11 Apr
Easter is supposed to be a joyful time to celebrate new life, but it’s easy to lose the spring in your step when you’re struggling. While your kids want to dye Easter eggs, you may be wrestling to believe God can renew your marriage or provide a new job. You may not feel like celebrating Jesus’ victory over death if you’re struggling to believe He’ll come through for you. Maybe you’re praying for a sick friend or a wayward child, but you don’t see any answer.
Celebrating the Resurrection comes hard when your hope is all but dead. Yet God’s Word tells us that faith as small as a mustard seed is all we need to move mountains.
Recently I came across a stunning example of hope in a Bible passage I’d read at least 50 times before without ever noticing it. The story of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus illustrates the power of even the smallest glimmer of faith.
What can we learn about hope in difficult circumstances from the convict who died on the cross next to Jesus?
As he himself lay dying on a Roman cross, this man cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23: 42)
How could he possibly hope that Jesus, nailed and tied to a cross, could be the Messiah King the Jews were waiting for? How could this criminal possibly expect Jesus to come into power after being crucified at the hands of the Roman Empire? And how did he muster up enough faith and courage to call on Jesus while he himself suffered torture? Surely his best hope was a quick death.
Yet somehow the man had a glimmer of faith, and he exercised it by calling on Jesus: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”
We find three powerful words at the heart of his prayer: “Jesus, remember me!”
Isn’t that what faith is? Aren’t we all hoping that God will remember us and remember our prayer?
- Remember my struggling marriage.
- Remember my sick friend.
- Remember my financial needs.
- Remember my children.
- Remember my hopes and dreams.
You and I can call on Jesus just as that criminal did. As we place our hopes before Him, we can trust He’ll remember us. Jesus can heal us. He’ll provide for us. He can even increase our faith when we’re not really sure He’ll hear and act on our prayers.
Let’s take a look at Luke 23:39-43 to see what else we can learn:
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? 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.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ’Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”
Our criminal on the cross might not have fully recognized who Jesus was, but he knew some people called Him the Messiah, the King of the Jews. When the first crucified criminal began to taunt Jesus, our man defended him. He said, “This man has done nothing wrong.”
Our convict took the little he knew about Jesus and acted upon it.
He took the small faith he had and put it to work by calling on Jesus. And Jesus responded to his small faith: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Friend, you and I know much more about Jesus than the convict dying next to Him did. Scripture tells us Jesus sustains the universe by His powerful word, and all authority belongs to Him. Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and the Light of the World. He’s the Resurrection and the Life, and He can bring life to all things dead. Even our wilted hopes.
So let’s act on what we know, and muster up our mustard seed faith and small glimmer of hope. Let’s call on Him today: “Jesus, remember me.”
And He will. Jesus will remember us. He rewarded the small, incomplete faith of that criminal on the cross; He promised the man eternal life, and he has a reward for our imperfect faith as well. He will not forget us.
A Prayer for Hope
“Jesus, remember me. You know the desires of my heart, You love me perfectly, and You have the power to meet all my needs. Help me to trust you even when I cannot see you working as I’d like. I lift my mustard seed faith up to you. Make it grow, and renew my hope. In your name I pray, Amen.”
Betsy de Cruz writes to encourage people to stick close to God, even when life gets bumpy and crazy. Most days she feels privileged to live with her family in the Middle East; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out. On her blog, Faithspillingover.com, you’ll find tips for Bible study, prayer, family life, and everyday faith. You’ll also find Betsy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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