Theme of the Week: Roads to Easter
Bible Verse: Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42
Scripture Reading: Luke 23:26-43
I’ve wondered for a long time about the history of the two men who were crucified with Jesus. The most we can say for certain about their history is that it contained at least one wrong choice. They were both getting what their deeds deserved (see Luke 23:40-41).
What had they done? Were they Roman, Jewish, other? The fact that they were being executed while Barabbas, who was guilty of sedition and uprising against the Roman empire was simply being held in prison suggests that they must have done something rather serious. Career criminals or men caught in a desperate situation? Whatever the case, these last moments of their lives are preserved forever in the pages of Scripture as they find themselves hanging next to Jesus.
Their responses, according to Luke could not have been more different (John does not record any words from them, while Matthew and Mark say that both criminals insulted Jesus). One of the criminals, mockingly suggests that if Jesus is the Messiah that He should save himself and them. The other, and the one who is more often remembered, not only acknowledged his own guilt, and accepted that he deserved what was happening to him, he also highlighted his own fear of God and Jesus’s innocence.
But that wasn’t all. Do you remember what else he asked? He asked to be remembered when Jesus came in His Kingdom.
Several times in the gospels, Jesus recognized small expressions of faith. He rewarded the centurion who simply understood that Jesus had authority (Matt. 8:5-13). Jesus granted the request of the woman who said that even dogs got to eat scraps from the master’s table (Mark 7:24-30). He told the Samaritan leper that his faith, expressed by a simple “thank you” had made him well (Luke 17:11-19).
There is no record of any of these people becoming followers of Jesus. The criminal had no time. But each simple expression of faith was met with compassion by Jesus. The thief who hung with Jesus was told that he would be with Jesus in paradise that very day.
Have you expressed your faith in Jesus?
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you recognize our small and simple acts of faith. Forgive me for the times I have not responded in faith to what you ask. Grant that I may see you in your kingdom.
Reflection: Have you expressed faith in Jesus? If not, what is stopping you?
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