Summary: The second in a series on the seven sayings of Christ on the cross.
As he was dying on the cross, Jesus Christ made a few final statements – seven to be exact – that deserve our attention.
• Seven statements from a dying man to a dying world.
• Seven statements that provide insight to a generation searching for answers.
• Seven statements that reveal the heart of the Savior.
Importance of context > the story of God’s love for us and our need for Him
Today we look at Jesus’ answer to a man in desperate need of a Savior.
Luke 23:39-43 (NIV)
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don’t you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
• Crucifixion was reserved for rebels against the empire.
• They were possibly terrorists and followers of a false-messiah (Barabbas?).
• As bad as these guys were, they represent each of us.
• Two criminals = all of mankind
• Each response = our choice – We can either scoff at Christ or cry out to Him.
We could easily get lost in the debate over what Jesus meant by the words “kingdom”, “today”, and “Paradise”, but that would miss the point and the heart of the Savior.
What we see:
• Criminals undeserving of anything other than death
• Insults / doubt / mockery / scoffing toward Christ > In fact Matt. 27 & Mark 15 record that both of the men crucified with Jesus “hurled insults” at Him at first.
• Recognition of need > One of the criminals changed his mind, though. He recognized that he was without hope apart from God’s mercy. His only hope was a pardon from the King.
• “I assure you” / “I tell you the truth”
• “Today you’ll be with me” > It’s relational
Point of the story:
No matter what you’ve done, it’s never too late to call on Christ. When we come to Christ in humility and recognition of who He is, he remembers us and offers us salvation.
The Big Idea:
It’s never too late for God’s mercy and grace.
Grace – getting something we don’t deserve
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 5:20-21 (NLT)
It’s nothing that we have done or can do . . . . it’s grace.
Grace covers every sin.
What have you done that you want covered?
The story of the NT is the story of grace.
• woman at the well
• good Samaritan
• woman caught in adultery
• It’s all about grace
Remember: It’s never too late. Doesn’t matter how many times / how long / how wrong / how old / how bad
All you have to do is turn to Christ. Trust him. Follow him.
6 Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. 7 Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. Isa 55:6-7 (NLT)
It is the grace of God that allows us to be with him.