Friday, April 18, 2014

Lent 2014: Criminal on the cross

Luke 23:32-43
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The believing criminal obviously knew that Jesus' reign was not one of earthly power over the Roman empire. They were both well into the dying process so Jesus couldn't "remember" the criminal and give him any kind of pardon or reward here on earth. Like Martha earlier, he recognized Jesus' eternal power over the afterlife. He saw that he would go through the dying process no matter what, and that his punishment was just, yet he placed his hope in the Man next to him who was also enduring the cross.
Who among us does not deserve the same penalty the criminal on the cross received? Jesus, the only human throughout history who was wholly just according to His very nature, from conception through until death, dies a painful crucifixion so that we, who deserve such a terrible death, don't have to. Every trial we endure is fully and completely merited. If we look over at someone else and think that that person's life is easy compared to ours, perhaps God is showing His mercy to that individual rather than excessively punishing us (or perhaps our perception is wrong). Either way, I am grateful that Christ died on the cross for my sake and that His power and His reign extend far beyond the grave.

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