WHICH SIDE OF THE CROSS ARE YOU ON?
In the gospel of Luke, it is recorded that Jesus was crucified between two criminals, one on either side. In the crowd watching the crucifixion were certain Jewish leaders who sneered at Jesus saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ.” The Roman soldiers also mocked Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
Hearing the crowd, one of the criminals joined in, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” At this, the criminal hanging on the other side of Jesus rebuked him saying, “Don’t you even fear God? We deserve this for we are condemned justly. But this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he turned to Jesus and said, “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.”
What was the difference between the two criminals? The first joined the crowd, only speaking to Jesus in a similar manner of mocking. His request included no repentance of sin and it included no statement of faith. Indeed, it was stated as an “if-then” statement, like “If you are the Christ, then prove it by saving yourself and us too.” Jesus did not even acknowledge this man’s request.
However, the other criminal rebuked the first, admitting their sin, then turned to Jesus, calling Him, “Lord.” His request was simple, “Remember me.” And Jesus immediately responded to him with this beautiful answer, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
The two criminals represent all of humanity. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23) and deserving of death (Rom. 6:23). Yet, Christ has died for all. Some are like the first criminal who do not look to Jesus by faith and believe. They refuse to confess their sins and look to Him as Lord. While others are like the second criminal. They confess their sin, admitting that they deserve death, yet they cry out to Jesus as Lord and believe in Him for salvation.
Which side of the cross are you on? Which criminal are you? It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It’s never too late to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. For we are those who have admitted our sins and recognize our desperate need for a Savior. We have trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior and now we have been adopted in Your family as Your children. Now, strengthen us to share this Good News with everyone that Jesus saves! In Jesus’ name, amen.