“One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed, “So You’re the Messiah, are You? Prove it by saving Yourself – and us, too, while You’re at it!” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
What makes you a ‘Christian’? Is it just belief in God or in Jesus? Is it recognising that Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the 3rd day? Or is it living a good life, trying to follow the Bible’s teachings? Well, in essence it is all three of those, yet, what truly unites and reconciles us with Christ is the recognition of our sins and the repentance of them. There are many ‘good’ people in this world and many who know of God and believe that He exists. Yet what is knowing, if you don’t have relationship.
When the remorseful criminal cried out to silence his partner in crime, he declared this important truth.. ‘we deserve to die for our crimes..’. This criminal recognised he had done wrong and deserved to be punished for his crimes. The debt of his sins had been weighed and he was found guilty by death. Yet he knew that next to him, hung someone who had done nothing wrong, who was more than just a man and whose Kingdom would endure forever. ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom‘ are words of repentance, they are words of recognition and words of realisation. He first recognised he had done wrong, then, in his own words repented of his sins by asking Jesus to remember him and finally, he realised that Jesus was more than just an innocent man hanging on a cross, but was a King, whose Kingdom ruled forever, even after physical death.
May we too recognise our wrongdoings, may we lay them down and confess them before the Father and may we realise that Jesus has the power to forgive and make us whole once more. May we remember this truth, that because Jesus overcame the cross, we are forgiven. Grace be to you.