Summary: Everyday God allows us the freedom to choose. I wonder sometimes what makes two people for the same background, upbringing, moral values, choose totally different.
Life is full of choices, we make some everyday. We choose to get up; we choose what we will wear, what we will eat and what we will do for the day. We choose right or wrong everyday. Isn’t amazing how two people with very similar backgrounds can make totally different choices.
1. Meet Edwin Thomas (slide 3)
a. A master of Shakespearian Theatre.
b. Debut as Richard III at age 15.
c. Performed Hamlet in NY for 100 consecutive nights.
d. Edwin had two brothers, John and Julius.
e. In 1863, the three performed “Julius Caesar” with brother John playing the role of Brutus.
f. This same John would take the role of assassin on a crisp April night, 1865 at the Ford’s theatre.
g. Edwin Thomas Booth and John Wilkes Booth were brothers.
2. Edwin was never the same after that night
a. Shame from his brothers crime drove him to early retirement
b. On night at a train station Edwin performed heroically saving the life of a young man who was pushed off the platform.
c. The young man recognized Edwin, but Edwin did not recognize the young man.
d. Weeks later a letter from General Adams Budeau, secretary to General Ulysses S Grant, thanked Edwin for saving the life of this young man.
e. The young man was Robert Todd Lincoln.
f. One brother took the life of Abraham Lincoln, the other saved the life of his son.
g. Same parents, same passion for theatre, same upbringing, yet one chooses life, the other chooses death.
3. Nothing new
a. Abel and Cain, while Abel chooses worship, Cain chooses murder, and God lets him.
b. Abraham and Lot, pilgrims, Abe choose God, Lot chooses Sodom, and God lets him.
c. David and Saul, David chooses God and Saul chooses power, and God lets him.
d. Peter and Judas, both deny their Lord, yet Peter chooses repentance, Judas chooses suicide and God lets him.
In every age of history, on every page of scripture, the truth is revealed: GOD allows us to make our own choices.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
A narrow gate or a wide gate, a narrow road or a wide road, the big crowd or the small crowd it is all a matter of choices. God gives us eternal choices, and these eternal choices have eternal consequences.
The Thief on the Cross:
Ever wonder why there were two thieves?
1. Tried by the same system
2. Sentenced to the same sentence
3. Surrounded by the same crowd
4. Equal distance from Jesus
5. They begin with the same sarcasm.
a. Ever wonder why Jesus was in the middle
b. Coincidence, or was this ordained by God?
6. What made the one repent?
a. Was it Jesus statement “Father Forgive them they do not know what they are doing?”
b. Of did the thief finally recognize Jesus?
c. I think it was more of the former than the latter.
7. But what about the other one?
a. Wouldn’t an invitation be warranted?
b. How about a word of encouragement? He got it, he heard what Jesus said to the first one.
c. The shepherd goes after the lost sheep?
i. The sheep was lost innocently
ii. The coin lost irresponsibly
iii. The prodigal son left on his own.
iv. The Father gave him a choice, Jesus gave the thieves the same.
There are times God sends the thunder to stir us, the blessings to lure, the silence to honor us with the freedom of choice.
It’s not fair. I did not ask to be born, I did not ask for this body, this hair, these eyes, this handicap. Would you rather you choose your DNA, and God choose your eternal destiny?
The first thief made some bad choices in life, he chose the wrong crowd, the wrong morals, the wrong behavior, yet he made the right choice at the right time. In the end all his bad choices were redeemed but a solitary good one.
How could two brothers, raised in the same house, the same parents, the same value system, and yet make two completely different choices? I don’t know, how could so many different people see the same Jesus, and maybe only one make the right choice? One chose repentance and Jesus loved him enough to save him, the other chose to mock him and Jesus loved him enough