Jesus Christ, the Son of God, hung on a cross between two criminals. All 3 were to be put to death. Jesus’ torture prior to the cross was especially brutal but His suffering went beyond the physical. Among other things, He was mocked, humiliated, abandoned, and treated unjustly. The degradation the Son of God took upon Himself was enormous, as He took the sin of humanity upon Himself.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43
I can not imagine a criminal having this revelation in the natural and telling the other criminal, “Do you not fear God? We are being justly condemned and getting what we deserve. ” No, I think there is more to this. I get a strong sense that the Father was speaking to the Son through the mouth of this man hanging next to Him.
I could imagine the Father saying,
- Son, you have done everything right.
- My Son, rest assured, you will soon be with me in the kingdom once again.
- My Son, remember the divine reason for which you are doing this, this man will be the first of many to enter the kingdom because of you. The job is almost complete. The way is almost made.
There have been many times when I have been in need of a strong word of encouragement and it came to me from an unexpected source. When this happens to me I believe it is the Divine reaching out to me, encouraging me, helping me, prodding me on to the finish line. If God can do that for me, why not for His Son that was in dire need of encouragement?
How about you, are you sensitive to God meeting you in unexpected ways? Do you know that God can use you to speak His words of hope and blessing to those around you? God is amazing. I believe when we are sensitive to Him, and the way He moves in our lives, He does so even more.
God longs for relationship with us. He longs to communicate with us and bless us. This was the purpose of the cross. To make a bridge between us and God so that we could be in relationship with Him through His Son Jesus.
If you are not familiar with Easter/Resurrection Sunday, it is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary. For the whole account you can read Luke 22 to 24 HERE.
Leslie Rose K