Summary: While Jesus hung on the cross, He never once uttered a defense.
"TODAY, YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE" (LUKE 23:43)
Pastor Jim Parisi Beacon Light Mission 3-31-03
1. This evening, we will look at conversations from the cross.
II conversations FROM THE CROSS IS FOUND IN (LUKE 23:36-43).
(Luke 23:36-43). 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." 38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
A. THOUGHTS THAT I HAVE ABOUT THIS STORY.
1. While Jesus hung on the cross, He never once uttered a defense.
He didn’t yell out, “You’ve got the wrong man.
I didn’t commit an offense worthy of death. You are crucifying an innocent man.”
2. In fact, not only did Jesus utter no defense…none of His disciples protested His persecution.
Not one disciple spoke out on Jesus’ behalf. They all remained silent as they watched their friend and teacher suffer intense pain.
3. Interestingly enough…the only person who spoke out in defense of Jesus
was a convicted criminal…a thief…a robber…an unrighteous, sinful man.
4. We are told in the Bible that while this thief was hanging on a cross next to Jesus, he told the other thief, “this man (talking about Jesus) has done nothing wrong.”
5. This thief had the courage and the faith to stand up for Jesus. And this impressed Jesus so much that He told the man that he would join Him in paradise. Glory to God
B. HERE ARE SOME LESSONS THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM JESUS’ conversations FROM THE CROSS.
(1) FIRST, FROM THIS STORY WE LEARN THE TRUE MEANING OF SALVATION BY GRACE.
1. This condemned unworthy thief received salvation.
He didn’t deserve it. In fact, in Matthew’s account of this event, this thief had earlier heaped insults upon Jesus
(Matthew 27:44). He had verbally abused and attacked Jesus.
2. But as this man hung on the cross, his heart softened and he obtained a penitent heart.
He wanted Jesus to forgive him…to remember him in the kingdom, which Jesus did.
3. But I ask you…how in the world could this criminal be saved?
He was a convicted robber who was sentenced to death. He had probably been a thief for many years…taking things that did not belong to him.
He had lived a sinful life. So how could he receive salvation? He received salvation through the unearned gift of God’s grace. And it is through this wonderful grace that we can be saved as well.
(Rom. 3:22-24). 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
4. My friends, through Jesus Christ, we can be freely justified by the grace of God.
5. Brethren, our salvation has been made available through the compassion of one man…Jesus Christ. He laid down His life so that we may live.
6. The undeserved grace that the thief received on the cross is the same grace that is available to us today.
7. If you have not received this marvelous grace of God, please do so today.
To receive salvation, you must believe in Jesus Christ…repent of your sins…
Confess faith in the Lord…be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…and live faithfully to the end.
Get prepared we’re going to ask you later to make a decision.
(2) NO MATTER WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN OUR PAST WE CAN STILL BE FORGIVEN.
1. I don’t know for sure, but chances are the thief had not lived his life for God.
He probably didn’t attend the synagogue on a regular basis…
He probably lived his life without regard for the things of God.
2. But while on the cross, He changed.
He became a spiritually minded person.
The afterlife became important to him. As he was approaching death, he got his life right with God.
3. Because of his faith in Christ, this thief received salvation although his past was full of sin and unrighteousness.