PASTOR'S PEN: Lord, remember me
It’s that time of the year again when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a time of spiritual renewal for the Christian faithful as we reflect on what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross of Calvary.
Jesus Christ is, and was, God in the flesh as John 1:14 tells us. The Bible declares that he was both God and man at the same time. He came to this world to go to the Cross of Calvary to die in our place. He took the sins of the world upon himself to be the final sacrifice for sins of man. Jesus willingly laid down his life and was crucified so that his perfect life could be slain for you and me.
What a Savior he is! He rose from the dead three days later, just as he said he would, to prove he had the power over sin and death and to show us that he is God. Jesus told his disciples how a person can get to heaven. He said in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
As I was reading the story in the Bible about Jesus’ crucifixion I was drawn to the story of the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus. The Bible clearly tells us that one was on his right side and the other on his left side. At the very beginning of the crucifixion, both criminals started to insult Jesus and ridicule him.
They mocked him and taunted him and said to him that if he were really the “Son of God” (Matt. 27:40) to go ahead and get himself down off the cross to prove who he was so they would believe in him. In fact, the whole crowd, including the religious leaders and the Roman soldiers began mocking him as well.
The Bible tells us that they put Jesus on the Cross at 9 a.m. and he died at 3 p.m. In the beginning, both criminals on each side of Jesus began to mock Jesus and even ridicule him, but what is interesting to me is that something happened to one of the criminals as he was dying on the cross with Jesus. His heart started to change. His mindset started to change.
I don’t know if he went to a religious school as a child or if his mother or grandmother tried to teach him about God or not. In fact, the Bible doesn’t tell us anything about these two criminals. But as you read the story from the Bible, you will find that as time went on the one criminal changed his thoughts about who Jesus was.
Listen to what takes place in Luke 23:39-43: “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, ‘If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.’
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, ‘Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.’ And he said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.’
And Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in.’”
In the beginning of the crucifixion both criminals were mocking Jesus because they didn’t believe who he claimed to be; The Son of God. But as time went on, the one criminal began to take notice of how Jesus reacted while on the Cross. He watched and listened; especially when Jesus spoke out loud earlier and said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
So back in verse 39 the one criminal yells at Jesus and says, “If thou art the Christ, save thyself AND US.” He wasn’t ready to put his faith and trust in Jesus as the Son of God; he just wanted Jesus to save his sorry soul!
But the other criminal says in verse 40, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”
WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
This criminal started off the day cursing Jesus and ridiculing him and mocking him; but then he became convinced of his sinful life. He started to see who Jesus really was: The Son of God! He turns to Jesus and says something very interesting. He says to Jesus: “Lord, remember me...”
The word “Lord” here is ADONAI in the Greek and it only means one thing. It meant to make that person the master or boss of your life. It meant that you were addressing the one and only individual who was considered to be the Messiah sent from God above.
This criminal admitted he deserved the punishment he was getting. He turned to Jesus and now looked at him as ADONAI and he asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus went to Paradise.
This criminal knew that if Jesus was the Messiah, then He would be going to Paradise (Heaven) once he died; and he wanted to go and be where Jesus was going to be. That is faith in action!
Jesus turns to him and says: “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Jesus didn’t say that he needed to clean up his life first. He didn’t tell him he had to give money to the church. Jesus didn’t tell him he had to get baptized or do some special work first and then maybe he could go to Heaven. The thief on the Cross didn’t have time to do any of those things.
And that is the point Jesus is trying to make to all of us today. Salvation comes to those who repent of their sins like this thief on the cross and then turn to Jesus in FAITH and believe Jesus is the only one who can save you from your sins. Jesus knew this man’s heart: and Jesus knows your heart as well.
Ephesians 2:8-9 8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
If you haven’t asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, why not do it today? Jesus died so you may have eternal life.