Today, You Will Be With Me In Paradise

March 10, 2019

 

Part 2, The Word on the Cross
Luke 23:36-43, Luis Cruz, GCF Durham

Lent reminds us of our commitment to share the story of Christ’s saving work on the cross. Someone said, “God did not call us to judge people, but to preach the gospel.” And it’s true. The apostle Paul said this in 1 Cor. 15:3-4,“3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The Lent season provides a big opportunity for us to pass on the gospel “as of first importance”. We can share the gospel to others by simply retelling the story of Christ on the cross.

1. The City Expelled The Christ.
“13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him… 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Luke 23:13-18

•The Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of sedition against Rome before Pilate.
•Pilate found Jesus to be innocent.
•Religious leaders stirred up the crowd and rejected the verdict.
•The crowd wanted Jesus to be crucified.
•Jesus became an outcast (literally means “thrust out”), of the city.
•Calvary – the place for outcasts.
•Cross – magnified the casting out of the Outcast.
•The inscription on the cross “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, was both an accusation and a mockery.
•The first thief mocked Jesus
•The second thief acknowledged his sinfulness. See Luke 23:39-40.

2.The Penitent Thief Feared God.
“40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23:40-41

•The repentant thief feared God.
•He saw Christ as the Messiah.
•He saw Christ’s commitment to save people, even in His dying moment.
•Christ passed on this commitment to His people. See 1Cor. 15:3-4

3.The Request to Be Remembered.
“42Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42
•A reaction to Jesus’ prayer for His Father’s forgiveness towards sinners.
•An acknowledgement of Christ’s sovereignty.
•Affirming Christ’s resurrection.

4.Jesus Outweighs Paradise.
“Truly I tell you, today, you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43.

•Paradise simply refers to the place for the righteous, the final destination of God’s people.
- A picture of God’s garden. See Rev. 2:7
- Heaven
•Eternal life starts at the moment of receiving faith to believe.
•Christ’s word places great emphasis in Him and not on the place.
•The privilege to be with the Lord now, outweighs the place where He is bringing us.

Challenge:
- How can we show God our commitment to pass on the gospel this week?
- What concrete steps can we take to bring someone to Jesus? 

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