Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hangin' With Jesus / Thursday April 1, 2010

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise"
(Luke 23:43 KJV)

Luke 23
 32Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution.
 33When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left.
 34-35Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."
   Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, "He saved others. Let's see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!"
 36-37The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine: "So you're King of the Jews! Save yourself!"
 38Printed over him was a sign: this is the king of the jews.
 39One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: "Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!"
 40-41But the other one made him shut up: "Have you no fear of God? You're getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this."
 42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom."
 43He said, "Don't worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise."

Our Lord was crucified with two thieves in order to demonstrate, as the Lord's Supper reminds us, the full extent of His humiliation. At His birth He was surrounded by the animals of the stable and placed in a manger. Now, at His death, He is numbered with criminals. As the early Christian song tells us, He "made himself nothing" and "humbled himself" (Phil 2:7,8).

Our Lord — though sinless, holy, and perfect — was crucified between two criminals, He was "numbered with the transgressors" (Is 53:12). This reminds us of what the Lord's Supper shows us: that He hung there in our place, as our Substitute. We, not Christ, are the transgressors. It should have been us hanging there on the tree between the two thieves. It should have been us suffering the shameful death of the cross. But Christ took our place. He was numbered among the transgressors in our stead.

Jesus hung between the two thieves. God used those two men to dramatize the only two possible responses to the Christ: belief and unbelief, acceptance and rejection, repentance and impenitence.  
(Listen Now)

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