We Are The Issue
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:39-43)
This brief scene at Golgotha can tell us a lot about who Jesus is and who we are called to be.
Who are we called to be? Clearly not the first thief. He rejects Jesus. The pride of life pushes him fiercely from redemption and firmly toward godlessness. However, the other thief understands two things that are crucial for salvation.
First, he knows the problem lies within himself. He rightly diagnoses his situation and proclaims, “We are punished justly.” A proper grasp of sin is the first step toward redemption. After all, we don’t need a savior if there is nothing to be saved from.
Second, he properly understands his need for the person of Jesus Christ. He cries out, “Remember me!” In this cry he acknowledges that Jesus is able to save. By calling on Jesus name, we reveal our trust is in him.
Do we call out to God? Are we able to trace the blame back to ourselves? Can we admit our sin is the source of ungodliness? We must.
And what does Jesus do? He receives our repentant heart and accepts us as we are. He forgives us and gives us hope for a better world.
Jesus, I acknowledge myself as the source of sin and pain in the world. I am fallen and justly punished. I cry out to you for mercy. Remember me, forgive me, and give me hope for a better world. Amen.