Summary: To veiw the passionate state of our Savior, even while on the Cross.
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
A couple of years ago, Mel Gibson directed a movie that put new meaning to the way Christians viewed the crucifixion. Now although it was surrounded with controversy from the Jewish community and some over reacting covenant theologist, this movie impacted the way many viewed the events of that day leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Some missed the whole picture, even though they were there because they did not go to see the movie for its content, but they went to see it to dissect it with what they thought they knew about the dreadful day of the crucifixion. Some nit-picked Simon the Cyrenian that helped Jesus bare His cross. Some were upset because the Jewish community said the picture was Anti-Semitic, while others thought that it was not right for a person who showed no signs of knowing the Lord Jesus nor His church, make so much money from his version of what happened around the day in which Jesus gave up the ghost. My brothers and sisters what ever the sceptic might have thought, I feel that the movie was worth seeing because it would give the Christian community a much needed look at the way the prophetic word in Isaiah 52 described how the Savior would be marred.
Now although Mel Gibson viewed the passion of our Christ in the light of what Jesus received on our behave and I agree with him. I saw something else in the text that showed me how passionate Jesus really was for sinners like us. This involved the malefactor or the criminal who was at the right side of Jesus. He much like Jesus was on a cross, but he according to the law deserved such punishment. Jesus and this malefactor was not alone, because their was one other malefactor on the cross that day, but only one of them was going to be with Jesus in paradise.
So lets take a look at this sad but glorious day in the life of this malefactor and see how he moved the Lord to be passionate towards him.
First of all. . .
1. HE UNDERSTOOD THAT HE DESERVED TO DIE (vv.39,41a)
“And one of the malefactors who were hanged railed at Him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us. 40. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41. And we, indeed, justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds.”
As we look at these verses we find Jesus, and two thieves nailed to three separate crosses. The people around the cross was mocking Jesus saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself. Matthew 27:44 stated that even both of these thieves mocked Him. But one had a change of heart in this lesson. But for the other in the text, the scriptures shows, him mocking the Lord as well, and saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us. He did not know that, dying on that day was Jesus’ purpose for being there. He didn’t know, not because Jesus didn’t make that fact known, he didn’t know because he did not care to hear the words of Jesus. There are people just like that today. Jesus has been knocking at their heart ever since they been hearing the gospel, but some care not to listen to the message that the gospel is presenting. They are hearing but they are not listening. That what happen to these two malefactors while things were going well for them they heard from other about Jesus and his message, they probably heard Him for themselves, but they never listened to what He was saying. This was not the case for the thief that was on the right. Although he ridiculed Jesus in the beginning, but he finally listened to the message and did not continue with his friend nor the crowd. In fact he rebuked his friend for the words he was saying because deep down inside he knew that they were getting what they deserved, and he also knew that Jesus was an innocent man. You know I applaud this man because probably for the first time in his association with the other thief, that they were not thick as thieves. He might have realized in order to see Jesus, you would have to disassociate yourself with people that cannot see Christ as their only true hope. You see, you have to come out from among the peace breakers and the backbiters, you have to leave the ones who think that everyone is wrong but them. It just like the two self centered brothers of the church who once said, “there are only two people saved in this church. You are looking at one and I am looking at the other.” I tell you that would be a sad commentary for Jesus’ ministry if only two people got saved, but there are people just like that in the church.