Summary: Following his prayer for forgiveness, Jesus speaks of salvation -- a restored relationship with God.
1. Hunger for Forgiveness and Salvation
Ernest Hemingway told the story of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained to the point of breaking. Finally the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put the following ad in the newspaper: “DEAR PACO, MEET ME IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL MONTANA AT NOON. ALL IS FORGIVEN. I LOVE YOU. YOUR FATHER.”
The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office, 800 “Pacos” showed up.
There is a hunger for forgiveness and then “salvation” within each of us. Salvation heals a broken relationship with God.
a. Jesus’ first words on the cross were of forgiveness
b. Jesus’ next words were of salvation – Luke 23.32-43
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
2. Jesus’ whole life and ministry pointed to this event.
a. He came to seek and save the lost – Luke 19.10
b. Seen in the prediction of his birth – Matthew 1.21
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
c. Fulfillment of prophecy – Isaiah 53.12
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
3. Who crucified Jesus? God did to save us
4. Jesus lived and died with sinners so sinners could die and live with him – Galatians 2.20
I. Man’s Common Request – Salvation
A. The thief Thought of the Future
1. He knew he deserved to die (Luke 23.40-41)
2. He requested salvation – “Remember me. . .”
3. We have been or are in the same condition and make the same request as others
• Pentecost – Acts 2.37
• Ethiopian – Acts 8
• Saul – Acts 9, 22
• Jailer – Acts 16
4. Remember, during his lifetime, Jesus could forgive however he wanted, but once he died forgiveness was according to his will – Hebrews 9.16-17
5. Like the thief, we often think of salvation as a future commodity
B. Don’t forget the Present
1. Jesus promised him Paradise – TODAY
2. Now is the time of salvation for us – 2 Corinthians 6.2b behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.
II. God’s Continuous Response – Salvation
A. Salvation is a Gift of Grace (in light of Luke 23.41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds;)
1. Extremes – Cheap Grace and Earn Salvation
2. Gift – Ephesians 2.8-9
16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.
4. Reliance on the Giver – He has always initiated our salvation
"The Christian life isn't difficult — it is impossible. If we don't know that, we will try to do things ourselves. Faith is not necessary when we think we can do it ourselves. Faith comes along when we realize that we cannot do it on our own." — Joseph Garlingen