Summary: The 2nd Saying from the Cross (Good Friday)
“Listen, It’s Not too Late… There’s Always Hope!”
Addressing the second saying from the cross:
“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Tonight’s message is, “Listen, It’s Not too Late…There’s Always Hope.”
One thing I’ve learned is that we all have life choices to make. Often the choices made are based on sensual desires, desires that appease our flesh. God has given each of us a free will to choose and make decisions but are those decisions beneficial; do they bring honor and glory to God.
Unfortunately, the enemy of God doesn’t stop us from hearing God’s Word but he does an all out attack when we decide to listen to God’s word. We hear one another in this place. We hear the birds chirping. We hear the television. We hear the sound of the car. But how many of you are actually listening to obtain that important message solely for you? Church, there is a difference in hearing and listening.
Many of you know that I teach seminarians. Some students choose to hear the professor’s instructions in lieu of listening to the instructions. This is very dangerous. There are consequences to hearing vs. listening just as it was for the two thieves on the cross.
My brothers and sisters, three men hung on the cross, Jesus and two criminals who hung to the right and left of Jesus. One sinner wanted to escape the cross but not forgiveness while the other sinner plead forgiveness and not escape punishment for his guilty sins. Both hung in close proximity to Christ where they could understand every spoken word from Jesus’ innocent mouth. As I thought about this, I realized that while these guilty men didn’t deserve to be even near a sinless God, Jesus permitted them to be in close proximity to Him. Verse 32 informs us that prior to being crucified, Christ and the two sinners walked the path to the cross. Using my sanctified imagination, I presumed there must had been some thought in the sanctity of the sinless one, being Christ. It’s almost impossible to believe that there was no conversation amongst these men on their journey to the cross. It’s almost impossible to believe that the sinners couldn’t see something different, something special about the sinless One. You know how it is. When a Child of God is an ungodly setting your spirit just doesn’t bear witness with those who actively practice sin; something is said or done which births an uncomfortable presence within you. Am I right about it?
Yet, one sinner refused to take heed to Christ blessing; he refused to listen. That’s how some of us are today. Even when God permits us to enter His gates, we enter with an attitude and often with an unforgiving heart. Church, Jesus had just uttered these words from the cross, “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And while they hung beside him, the defiant thief only heard Christ spoken words and he refused to listen to Christ blessing of forgiveness. This sinner chose to remain in his ungodly state. However, the repentant thief chose to listen as Christ spoke and upon listening he received the blessing. The repentant thief replied, “Jesus remember me. . .” Church don’t just hear but listen to the blessing?