The love of God is expressed through the life of His Son Jesus Christ is love in extremis or grace that is indescribably outrageous. A story that so clearly illustrates this is found in Luke 23:35-43.
The scene is a gory one. Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God, the One who committed no sin, is hanging on a cross, in deep agony; blood flowing from his hands and feet. He is in the company of two criminals, one on either side. Below, the crowd watch and mock. The leaders mock, too. ‘He saved others,’ they said. ‘Let Him come down and save Himself if He is really the Chosen One, the Messiah.’
The soldiers lend their voice to the derision, offering Him a drink of sour wine. They call out, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, come down from the cross.’ They cobble together a sign, fasten it above His head. It reads, ‘Here is the King of the Jews’.
One of the two criminals who were hanging beside Jesus added his voice to the hail of insults, ‘So you are the Messiah are you? Prove it and save yourself and us while you’re at it!” However, his fellow criminal who was hanging on the other side said, ‘Don’t you fear God, even so close to death? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man is innocent.’ He followed up with this destiny-redefining plea to Jesus: ‘Remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus replied, ‘I assure you; today you will be with me.
Now, that is an incredible response from Jesus, which truly reflects His heart of love and mercy and His amazing capacity to reach, touch and transform. Here He was, in His moment of greatest pain, physically and emotionally, yet He reached out and changed the destiny of one of life’s criminals, a dead beat, and a lost no-hoper.
I don’t know where you are on your journey, but whatever you may have done is not so bad that it cannot be forgiven by God. However awful you feel your life of sin has been; the same Jesus who forgave the hardened criminal on the cross is able to forgive you too.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this simple prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus. Amen!’