Luke 23:39-43, “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’”
After the time of Easter and all the celebration is over, Jesus is risen and lives in Heaven until he comes back. Looking back at the story of the crucifixion, there are two people who do not get a lot of coverage. The two criminals can teach us a lot about ourselves and the world.
One of the criminals went along with the crowd and mocked, jeered and blasphemed Jesus. The other sided with Jesus and refused to join the crowd in the hate speech that ensued. This is how the world is today. There are people who openly mock the name of God and Jesus and have no problem with doing it. There are people who are followers of Jesus and side with Jesus for their day-to-day life. Each day we have to choose which person we are going to be: a crowd pleaser or a Jesus pleaser.
The man who went against Jesus had no concern about his soul after he died. He was only interested in saving his own skin from the physical death he was enduring. He saw Jesus as an opportunity to get off that cross without knowing that Jesus was meant to die on the cross for that man’s sins and that man’s soul.
The other man seemed to know what Jesus was doing. He recognized that Jesus did not deserve the punishment He was getting but the other two did. He also recognized that he was going to die and was not sure where his soul would go after death. This is when he asks Jesus to remember him. Jesus assures him that he will remember this man and his faith.
There were two criminals on the cross. One on the left of Jesus. One on the right of Jesus. One made a decision to be with the Lord. The other didn’t. Today we have the same choice: accept Jesus as Lord and Savior or deny Him and live apart from Him for all eternity. The choice is clear: choose wisely and choose Jesus. Jesus is the clear choice for all, if we only choose to believe.
There are two outcomes to life after death: life with You or life without You. We have a choice because of free will. Your Son allows to be saved from sin and a spiritual death. After physical death, there is a death of the corruptible and the gift of incorruptible. Without Your Son, we would experience both a physical death and a spiritual death. Thank You always that You loved all of us enough to give us a gift far more wealthy than all the riches in the world. Thank You for being our loving Father. We cry out to You. We need You always.
In Your name we pray,