Luke

Luke 23:38-43 (The second Saying from the Cross)

Luke 23:38-43: "And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”

THE SECOND SAYING FROM THE CROSS: 'Truly, I say to you, today, 
You will be with me in Paradise' (Luke 23:43)

The focus moves now to the 2 thieves who being crucified with him, reviled him (Matt 27:44, Mark 15:32) fulfilling Isaiah 53:12: He was numbered with the transgressors in his death. 

While one of them blasphemed him (Luke 23:39) - "the other rebuked him saying, 'Don't you fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? and indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus: 'Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom" (Luke 23:39-43). This prayer immediately brought forth from Jesus the promise of eternal life in God's Kingdom.

The 2 ROBBERS represent the whole world, divided into 2 groups -sheep (believers) and goats (unbelievers).

We see Jesus' LOVE for the whole world- especially those who believe in him. Jesus dying in the midst of 2 criminals is a picture of him coming among sinful humanity, who are under the penalty of death, identifying with us and suffering our death (the death of a sinner) bearing the punishment we deserved, even though he was innocent (sinless), in order to give us new life and an eternal future in His Kingdom. For the one who turned to him in repentant faith, received the promise of life. 

In this vivid drama we see a picture of salvation and of mankind's 2 responses to Jesus.

Both had sinned and so were under the sentence of death, dying and deserving to die (Rom 3:23, 6:23). We've all robbed God, when we don't give him what is due (our love and loyalty) As our Boss He gave us resources to use for His purposes but we have spent and used them for another company. 

Both reviled Christ-but he did not damn them - he only loved them. 
Christ loves even those who hate him. 

Both knew his claims. 

Both saw his perfection. 

Both were under the same conviction of the Spirit (People railing against others are under conviction trying to deflect attention away from themselves onto others' faults). 

Both heard his offer of forgiveness. 

Both had the witness of the written Word: 
Jesus-king of Jews was written above his cross. 

Both saw Jesus dying for their sins. 
Like every person they had the choice to accept or reject Jesus. 

One believed and received the promise of eternal life. 
One rejected and died in his sins. 
WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

The believing thief shows us true conversion:

(1) He realised Jesus was who he claimed - the sinless Son of God, who therefore was not dying for his own sins but for ours.

(2) He acknowledged his sin and that he deserved to die.

(3) He knew he was helpless to save himself.

(4) He humbly asked Jesus to save him. 
His prayer was in faith, acknowledging JESUS as his LORD. 
He believed that he was the Messiah who would overcome death and reign as King over all- when (not 'if')you come into your KINGDOM.
He prayed: 'Lord, remember me, let me be part of your eternal Kingdom.' He believed Jesus had the power to save, even him.

(5) Jesus heard and answered his prayer. 
Jesus didn't responded to insults, but this contrite prayer got his attention and brought forth an immediate answer. Even in all the battles and pains he was fighting, Jesus answered this cry of faith, giving this new believer many assurances of a place in God's Kingdom and Eternal Life (cf. John 6:47):

(1) Truly, 
(2) I say to you, 
(3) today, 
You WILL be with me in Paradise.

When you call on the name of the Lord in faith, He answers at once. 
Jesus is still willing and able to save all who come to him (Romans 10:13). 
You can have the same assurance of salvation from the lips of Jesus, as this man did. If God received this hardened criminal, He will receive you.

He is a wonderful picture of all who are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8,9).

The robber's hands were nailed to the cross so he could do no good works. 
His feet were nailed so he could not walk in the paths of righteousness. 
He did no good works beforehand, to deserve salvation. 
He was doing no good works when he received salvation. 
He was dying so couldn't do any good works after salvation to keep it. 
He represents all who believe and turn to Christ in their helplessness and receive the Promise of Paradise.

The 2nd SALVATION blessing flowing from the Cross to those who believe, is ETERNAL LIFE in God's Kingdom with a restored relationship and fellowship with God. (John 3)

His NEED and request was: 
(1) to be in God's Kingdom 
and (2) to be personally remembered (known) by Jesus.

Jesus answered: 
(1) by saying he would 'be in Paradise' 
and also (2) by saying he would be 'with me'.

Eternal Life is knowing God, an eternal union and fellowship with God (John 17:3). The ultimate blessing is FELLOWSHIP=to be with Jesus (Phil 1:23, 2Cor 5:8, John 14:2,3, 1Thess 4:17). Jesus longs for our fellowship. 

The purpose of our salvation is that we might have a joyful eternity in heaven in sweet fellowship with Jesus, our Bridegroom.

There's one death-bed conversion in the Bible so none need despair, but only one that none may presume.

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