And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. ~Luke 23:42
One of the hymns we sing as Christians is “At the Cross.” The chorus says, “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burden of heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.” This morning, we see the dramatic salvation of a man who was not only at the cross, but on a cross.
We see the condemned.
This man was one of two malefactors, or criminals, condemned to death by Roman crucifixion for capital crimes that they had committed. He was found guilty of his crimes and condemned to this horrible death. The sentence of condemnation is on every sinner. This condemnation is not just physical death, but spiritual death as well. Spiritual death is being condemned spiritually to Hell and separated from God for eternity.
We see the Christ.
Jesus was nailed to the cross and condemned to die for crimes that He had never committed. Jesus was unjustly tried, falsely accused, and sentenced to die by wicked hands. Jesus is the Just Who died for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. He tasted death for every man. God laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was wounded, bruised, chastised, and made an offering for sin. He is the perfect sacrifice and only acceptable substitute for every sinner. He is the sinless Son of God Who was "the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
We see the cognizance.
The thief on the cross was crucified for his crimes. However, as the sun started to set, he realized that his death on the cross could not atone for his sins! He realized that he was about to die and enter eternity with Hell as his destiny. He watched and listened to Jesus on the cross, and whatever skepticism he had at first was dissipating. He saw that no guile or wickedness came out of Jesus' mouth. When he heard Jesus cry out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” it jolted him in his soul that Jesus was really Who He claimed to be. He realized that it was the holy Son of God Who was next to him, dying for this man’s sins. It was at the cross of Jesus that this man saw the light!
We see the contrition.
He cried out with humility and a broken spirit for the Lord Jesus to remember him in Heaven. Basically, this man had faith that Jesus could save him from his sins. He put his complete faith in Jesus’ shed blood, death on the cross, and eventual resurrection from the dead for his salvation. He wasn’t ashamed of what others at the cross said about his decision. He called on Jesus to be his Savior and Redeemer. He had faith that God’s grace could save him. He had faith that Jesus could save him right then and there.
We see the conversion.
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Jesus gave him assurance that He had saved him and that he would be with Him in Heaven that very day. When a person calls on the Lord as his Savior, he is saved immediately. His sins are completely paid for in full. He becomes a child of God and receives the gift of eternal life. At the cross, this thief saw “the light of the world” and believed that only Jesus could take away his sins. At the cross is where we first see the light. All our sins were paid for in full by Jesus when He died on that cross. If you are saved, thank Him for the cross. If you are not, like the thief, you can call on Him and be saved today.
Have an encouraged God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Samuel 28-31