Summary: Learning from the bad guy who turned to Jesus in the nick of time...
Recently in the online Guardian Newspaper (UK) they did research to discover who the nation’s top 10 baddies were... Who do you think are in the nations top 10 baddie list? You may be surprised! (The congregation guesses who’s on the list...)
Top 10 Scariest Baddies
1. White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia)
2. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
3. The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
4. Wicked Stepmother (Snow White)
5. Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians)
6. Voldemort (Harry Potter books)
7. The Child Catcher (Chitty Bang Bang)
8. Miss Trunchbull (Matilda)
9. The Wolf (Red Riding Hood)
10. Long John Silver (Treasure Island)
I want to tell you about a baddie. Not a pretend baddie like the names on the list. I want to tell you about a real bad guy, a real criminal. This man had been a robber. This man had not led good life at all...
Jesus is hanging there on the cross. He is in agony. But he has just prayed Father forgive them. The soldiers have taken his clothes and he is hanging there almost naked. A sign stands above his head mockingly but truthfully saying King of the Jews. People make fun of him as he is dying: religious leaders, Roman soldiers, and even one of the bad guys crucified next to him. But one man is very different. One of the criminals next to Jesus is surprisingly different. And Jesus says something amazing to him...
We see that:
1. The bad guy began to respect God.
When the other criminal was mocking, he said to him, Don’t you fear God?
2. The bad guy knew he was guilty.
The baddie said, We are punished justly, we’re getting what we deserve.
3. The bad guy knew Jesus was innocent
He said, Jesus has done nothing wrong.
4. The bad guy – AMAZINGLY – trusted Jesus
He said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
5. Jesus makes the bad guy an amazing promise
Today you will be with me in paradise.
Just like the bad guy, do we respect God? Do we know we have sinned and deserve punishment and separation from God forever? Do we trust Jesus? Not just see him as a dead man on a cross, but as the King and Messiah and Saviour?
God invites us to an amazing place – paradise.
God wants to show us the same amazing grace – he doesn’t ask us first to change, only to believe.
God looks to see if we have amazing faith – have you said, ‘Jesus, remember me’?
Let’s pray together...