Volume 7 No 2
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As is appropriate at this time of year, I’ve been reading through the account of Christ’s crucifixion. One of the aspects that struck me most strongly about the entire account was that of the thief on the cross.
Two criminals were crucified along with Jesus that day, one on either side of him. The first rebuked and mocked him, going along with the rest of the crowd; “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”
However, the second saw something special about the One hanging beside him on the cross. He had witnessed the entire crucifixion from up close. He had seen Christ being beaten, spat on and ridiculed, all without any retaliation or anger towards his tormentors. He could see there was something different about this man who had been proclaimed ‘King of the Jews’.
He rebuked the other criminal; “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him - he did nothing to deserve this.” Then he uttered this simple sentence, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
What a mess his life had turned out to be. He had led the life of a criminal and eventually his lifestyle had caught up with him. He was facing his darkest hour and he knew it. There was no time left to live a changed life; his time was now numbered in hours and minutes, not even days. So, in his time of hopelessness and darkness he turned to the only One who could help. And Jesus’ response to this man who had lived a life of sin is a testimony to God’s unwavering love for each of us, and a lesson to us all. No rebuking for a life wasted, and definitely no condemnation is recorded. Christ in fact comforts him; “Don’t worry, I will.” he said, “Today you will join me in Paradise.”
If only we would learn from this last lesson left us by our Saviour; when life looks hopeless, when we have messed up big time and are facing our darkest moments, even though brought on by our own lifestyle, God won’t turn his back on us. He is there, waiting, hoping that we will turn to him, because he has paid the price for our sin and wants nothing more than to welcome us into His Kingdom.
And this is the Good news that we proclaim through Face to Face Magazine.