Summary: The power of Jesus to save is manifested through the redemption of a convicted thief.

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Luke 23:43 “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Title: “Crook at the Cross”

1. Jesus talks about heaven in Matthew 13 utilizing 7 different scenarios.

a. Matt. 13:24 – Wheat and Tares – grow together

b. Matt. 13:31 – Mustard Seed – least of seeds, greatest of herbs, tree/birds

c. Matt. 13:33 – Leaven – in meal and whole loaf

d. Matt. 13:44 – Treasurer – hid in field, is found, and buys field

e. Matt. 13:45 – Pearl – seek goodly pearl, finds, and buys it

f. Matt. 13:47 – Net – gathers every kind

g. Matt. 13:51 – Householder – brings forth old and new treasures

There is an ultimate irony that he is being crucified between two malefactors…….Let’s break down that word Malefactor.

a. Fact – something with real demonstrable existence, truth

b. The ultimate fact for a Christian is the will, the way, and the word of God

c. Factor – is one therefore who does the will, walks in the way and lives by the word of God

d. Benefactor – is one who is so blessed for doing the will, walking in the way, and living by the word of God that their cup runs over and they bless others.

e. Malefactor – therefore is one who does not do the will of God, neither walks in the way of God, nor follows the word of God.

f. Jesus would say it is one who would place his hand upon the plow and look back. That person is not fit for the Kingdom of God. Such a person would be considered a sinner….a transgressor of the law….a crook!

I have been blessed in my life to have interacted with some of the great theological minds of this day. I have been blessed to attend some of the fine theological institutions. But my true Christian learning has not been from the halls of the academy, nor from the feet of those who teach theology. My true Christian learning has come from persons who never went to the schools of higher learning, but to the school of hard knocks. They taught me something very meaningful. Not theology, but kneeology. How to get on your bended knee and get a pray through. How to have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about my troubles. He will hear your faintest cry and he will answer by and by.

It was the kneelologists who revolutionized my understanding and reading of Scripture. They told me that you have to make the Bible your own. They told me that when you read scripture remember to read it from the perspective that if you don’t see a name. Put your name in there.

Therefore, since we don’t see a name associated with these two malefactors….put your name there. Jesus was crucified between Talbert and Amos….between Miles and Willard…..between Timothy and Everett…..put your name in there. The characteristics of a malefactor, sometime is like you and me….because we sometimes don’t do the will of God,

We sometimes don’t walk in the way of God….we sometimes don’t live by the word of God.

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