I was reading my bible and came across a story that I have read many time throughout my Christian walk. It’s a story that I’m sure anyone who has read a little of the bible or even been to church on Easter has heard.
Luke 23:26-43…The crucifixion.
Jesus is being led to his crucifixion and people are mocking him. Two other criminals are being crucified at the same time as Jesus. Both on the same mountain top as Jesus. The soldiers around them are mocking Jesus, and splitting up his belongings. Yelling insult at him. 37 ” If you are the king of the Jews save yourself.” Of the two, one criminal joined in. He mocked and insulted Jesus right along with the others.
It’s the actions of the second man that catches my attention.
But the other criminal rebuked him. ” Don’t you fear God,” he said “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, ” Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The audacity! This man is convicted of a crime, severe enough to deserve the death penalty. Yet he has the nerve to ask Jesus to remember him when he gets to heaven. Many of us would look down on him, thinking the punishment is fitting the crime.
Jesus is dying and most likely in a lot of pain at that very moment. My response would have been something along the lines of, “Seriously? You really want to ask this of me, now!” Unlike me, Jesus has a whole lot of patience and love. His response is simple yet so profound.
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
He responds without a hint of hesitation. No condemnation, only love.
This scripture stood out to me because how often have I felt like my sins are too great? I’ve caught myself thinking that I could never be good enough. Here, Jesus shows no hesitation to a man who is dying for his crimes. He simply welcomes him into paradise with open arms. The man only needed to speak out, and ask. It took courage and audacity to reach out and ask Jesus to remember him, but he did it any way. He knew something about Christ that many of us forget too easily. His love never fails, never runs out, and is available to ALL who ask.
Friends I hope and pray that we have this kind of audacity! That no matter where you are , or what you have gone through, or are going through, you can ask of God. He’s waiting with open arms, ready to respond with no condemnation, ONLY love!