The gospel of Luke chapter 23 and verses 39-43 give us a picture of our world:  3 crosses; one a dying sinner, one a forgiven sinner and in the middle cross, the Savior.  The forgiveness of the thief on the cross reminds us that there is a grinning ex-convict walking the golden streets of Heaven as evidence of God’s value of a human being.  It is God’s desire that everyone be saved but each individual has something to say about that.  God took the risk of giving His creation free will.  Man must will to be with God.

First, see the PREDICAMENT.
Jesus is being crucified between two robbers, lawless ones, transgressors.  God’s Son is nailed between two thieves.
The crowd is against Jesus.  They, along with the two thieves make terrible insults against Jesus. It is such a terrible scene that God blankets it with darkness.

Secondly, the PETITION.
One of the thieves turns to Jesus and said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”   The thief read the sign above Jesus head stating, “This is the King of the Jews.” He believed it.  Faith comes from what is written.  He sees beyond the crucifixion to a Ruler.  He sees not a victim but a victor.  He sees Jesus as innocent. Jesus has done nothing wrong.  What a bright spot in the midst of all this ugliness. He defends Jesus and makes a beautiful request.
This thief admits his wrong doing.  He deserves punishment.  He fears God.  He pleads for help.  No demand just a humble cry to be remembered.  It is as if he is saying, ‘just do what you can for me.’

Third, the PARDON.
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth.”  Now, pay attention because what I say is very important.  “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
TODAY, immediately as we count time.  Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be were I am.”   John 14: 1-3
TO BE WITH JESUS, that is Heaven. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine.”
Heaven is PARADISE.  Paradise is a Persian word meaning enclosure, park or garden.  It is used only three times in Scripture.  2 Corinthians 12:4 where it is spoken of as the heavenly abode of God which is indescribable and Revelation 2:7 where it is compared to the “Tree of life.”

Some misunderstandings of this pardon. One, no baptism.  It is not needed as Jesus, in person,  alive, offers salvation.  It was before His death and still under the Old Testament.
Deathbed repentance…An old Rabbi used to say to his people, “Repent the day before you die.”  But, they said to him, “Rabbi we know not the day of our death.”  Then, he answered, “Repent today.”

Like the guilty, sinful thief, we too cry out to the lord, “REMEMBER ME.”

What a faith–“Remember me.”  What a promise–“Today.”  What a privilege–“With Me.”  What a glory–“Paradise”

2 Responses to “CRY OF PARDON”

  1. I like this very much Max. Especially the rendering “just do what you can for me”. I also like the part about the grinning ex-convict. Unique perspectives.

    I appreciate your devotionals and the reminders of how to live for Jesus.

  2. Max ! I have enjoyed all of your Sunday lessons on the “Cries from the Cross. Thank you so much for sharing a portion of these in your weekly devotionals ! I know others will receive a blessing by reading these each week.
    May God continue to bless you with the knowledge and desire to share these words from your heart each week !
    Love and Prayers, Joann , Your #1 fan !

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