To take for granted that you will have the opportunity on your death bed to repent is a gamble. We should know all to well that death can sneak up at any moment an we may not be given a last breath to make a choice on where we spend eternity. Many wait until they have lost everything to accept Christ. We don’t have to wait until everything is falling apart to trust God with everything. Even when your life feels perfect, without a relationship with Jesus we are missing the purpose of life. What is holding you back?
“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Luke 23:42-43 NLT
“In times of trouble, may the LORD answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.”
Psalms 20:1 NLT
Picture this, Jesus, beaten by the Romans, mocked by the Jews, his friends had left him, and now he is hanging on the cross. Now to top it off as he is hanging their, the two criminals next to him start talking. One openly mocks Jesus. This criminal who is sharing the same penalty as Jesus, who deserved his fate, was mocking Jesus who was innocent. The other criminal goes to defend Jesus. He knows something is going on and eagerly and openly defends Jesus the innocent.
When he finishes rebuking the other criminal, he turns his attention to the one he was defending. This criminal may have had the importance of Jesus revealed to him either by the Holy Spirit, or maybe he had heard Jesus talking earlier in his life. We won’t know exactly what compelled him to ask the dying man next to him to remember him in heaven.
But an awesome reminder of Jesus forgiving power is displayed here on the cross. This criminal called out to Jesus, and Jesus didn’t ignore him, he didn’t make him say a prayer, he didn’t make an altar call, he answered his cry. This displays the awesome forgiveness of Jesus. King David wrote that the Lord answers are cries in times of trouble. This criminal may have remembered this as he hung on his cross and knew of the psalm as a child, but for whatever reason he cried out to Jesus to remember him, the pint to remember is that Jesus answered his cry.
So today those around us who are hurting, dying, depressed, out of work, angry, they all need Jesus. He is right there waiting for them to cry out to him. It is never to late for someone to come to Jesus.
Dear Jesus, I need to keep sharing your love with those around me. Help me this Easter weekend to invite friends, coworkers and family to experience the love of Jesus. Give me the boldness to invite people to church this Sunday. Let your messages all over this world from in the hearts of those who may only attend church once or twice a year. Break hearts and change lives this weekend. Amen