Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Well, today is Good Friday. There will be plenty of blog posts about it. There will be plenty of sermons on it. There will be plenty of services tonight observing it. I'm all over and all about the doctrinal and theological importance of Jesus' sacrifice, but I am also mindful of the personal importance and eternal consequences.

For as long as I can remember (and I have vivid memories going back to when I was 10 months old), the interaction between the repentant thief and Jesus has had a impact on me. Which is interesting since I didn't actually read the Bible until I was in my late 30's. My only exposure to that incident until then had been the 1961 film "King of Kings". But here is what Scripture says about that incident:

(NKJV, Luke 23:39-46), "Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." [40] But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? [41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."
[42] Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." [43] And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." [44] Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. [45] Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. [46] And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.' " Having said this, He breathed His last. "

There is just something about Jesus who had been tortured , crucified, and experiencing extreme suffering, takes what little physical strength that remains to respond to the repentant thief with assurance. Oh how comforting those words must have been to the thief! It is a very direct example of Jesus' sacrificial love for a sinner.

Maybe it is because I was a few days short of my 39th birthday when I received the gift of pardon and accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord. But I really identify with that thief. I lived a lifetime separated from God... doing things that in my own wisdom that I thought were "good enough". I made God fit my view of Him.

This Good Friday perhaps more than all the previous ones, I am so grateful for all that Almighty God has done for me. He never gave up on me. He pursued me in love. And I'm reminded once again, that as long as one has another breath in them, it is never too late for a person to recognize, repent, and receive.

All glory and honor to Jesus... suffering Savior, conquering King.


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