Prove It!

27th March

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.””

Luke 23:39-43

‘Prove it – save yourself’, cried one of the scoffers hanging next to Jesus. Have you ever asked yourself the question, what if Jesus did prove it? What if He did supernaturally release Himself, come down from the cursed cross and healed Himself of His wounds? You may have your conclusions but the Biblical truth is.. . . nothing. Jesus didn’t need to do anymore to prove that He was who He said He was, the Son of God.

Time and time again He showed who He was by His miraculous works and His life changing teachings. He raised men and children from the dead. He fed thousands with barely nothing. He calmed the raging sea. He turned water into wine. He healed people of their sickness’ and forgave them of their sins. He had a meeting with Elijah and Moses. He Himself said He was the Son of God. How much more did Jesus need to do to prove that He was who He said He was.

And yet even if He did come down, would people then believe in Him? Again….NO. Jesus was raised to life and now lives and people still ignore He even exists. He heals today, saves today, teaches us and reveals Himself to many, yet people still reject Him. Believing in Jesus, believing that He was who He said He was, is down to a personal choice. The evidence is clear. He really did exist. He really did rise again on the 3rd day and He really is still alive today. However, the choice is yours to make; Believe in truth or join in with the scoffers.

The God Of Second Chances

26th March

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.””

Luke 23:39-43

This surely has to be one of the most powerful demonstrations of Jesus’ love, mercy and acceptance in the whole of scripture. Jesus has just been beaten, punched, kicked, abused and is carrying the weight of every sin of humanity on His shoulders and yet still, He could find space in His heart to recognise a sinners remorse and forgive Him with His dying breath.

The remorseful criminal knew that Jesus was an innocent man. He may not have fully understood why Jesus had to die, he certainly was not baptised or put through the sinners prayer, and in addition, although not mentioned in the text, this was probably the only time he had talked to God (Jesus). Yet Jesus looked straight past the criminals sinful exterior, and straight into the man’s heart, who had clearly realised that next to a Holy Man, he fell very short of God’s holy standards and knew that Jesus was no ordinary man.

Jesus completely forgave the man of his sins, although again not mentioned in the text but can be assumed based on Jesus’ confirmation that this criminal would be in paradise with Jesus Himself. The man hanging on the cross for his own sins, forgiven by the Man hanging on the cross for humanities sins. Isn’t that just an astounding picture. Jesus hanging next to the criminal, taking the criminals sins upon His shoulders, and releasing the criminal from the wages of his own sin, death. A marvellous exchange of sin for grace; of punishment for redemption. This is the Jesus we serve.