It’s Personal (Pt2)
Background Story: Jesus was betrayed, beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross. As He is raised up on the cross, two criminals were on crosses next to Him.
Read Luke 23: 32-46
32 Now two others, who were criminals, were also being led away to be put to death with Him.
33 And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, watching. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also ridiculed Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the entire land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun stopped shining; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” And having said this, He died.
Big Idea: We all have a personal response to Jesus.
The criminals who hung on either side of Jesus had a very different personal response to His sacrifice. Romans 5:6 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Could there be a more accurate description for these men? At their moment of execution, “at just the right time,” both men had the exact same opportunity for spiritual salvation. Both men had committed the same crime and met Jesus at the same time in the same circumstance. Neither man was more righteous than the other as they hung on the cross. What made the difference? Let’s look at the man’s words to see…
-“Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?” (verse 40) We are all under the “same sentence of condemnation.” Romans 5:12 tells us, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” Sin entered the world when Adam first chose to rebel against God. No matter the severity of a person’s sin, we all sin. Sin is like poison and whether you add 4 drops of poison or 44 drops, the outcome of poison is always death.
-“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes” (verse 41) We deserve the punishment for our crimes against God. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The outcome and payment for our sin, selfishness, pride, arrogance and rebellious heart to God is death and eternal separation from Him.
– “but this man has done nothing wrong.” (verse 41) Jesus never sinned and is the only man to walk the earth than has, “done nothing wrong.” Jesus willingly accepted the cross to take our punishment so that we could be forgiven and brought into right relationship with God. Romans 5:19 says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
-“Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (verse 42) This man on the cross next to Jesus had a revelation that Jesus was the Messiah (Savior). Each one of us must ask ourselves, “Who is this Jesus?” Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Both men next to Jesus encountered Him at just the right time yet their response resulted in completely different eternal results. Each person must encounter Jesus in their life and make a decision how they will respond to His sacrifice. No matter what you’ve done in your past, God promises in Romans 10:13 that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Take time today to pray and reflect personally and also for those in your circle who need Him. If you have never responded personally to Jesus, you can come before Him like the criminal confessing your sin, recognizing Jesus as the Son of God who died and rose again, and asking Him for forgiveness. You can trust in Your Savior today and start a new life with Him.