(At your darkest hours, “where were you? Where did you go? His cross calls you in forgiveness and love.”)
Luke 23:32-43 (NIV)
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read:
“This is the King of the Jews,”
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
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.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[b]”
43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This robber who asked Jesus to remember him in His Kingdom, was never baptized. He had never done good works, he had never attended a tabernacle, and he certainly was not kind and loving to those he robbed. Yet, he was the one who saw and believed in Jesus’ Kingdom at His last breath. He asked Jesus for forgiveness and Jesus by His grace forgave him while dying next to him.
Then: I asked Jesus, “Where were the disciples? Where were the fishers of men? Where were those at your deepest hours to give the hope to others of Your Kingdom?”
Then this week before Easter Sunday, I found out why. I heard the Living Word speak out the truth I had missed before. That is what happens as we read with Him. His Words live and breath and becomes our being.
It was written. The Old Testament has the prophecy that had to be fulfilled, like all the other truths of Jesus. So, His disciples were not supposed to be with Him.
Zechariah 13:7 and 8 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me, declares the Lord Almighty. Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.”
This fulfills the Word of God for every prophecy of Jesus as answered.
Matthew 26:31 and 32 “ Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
John 19:25-27 “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loves standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son’, and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
There is so much mockery and hate around Jesus on that cross. Do we know how that feels? Many Christians do. Paul wrote about our sufferings for Jesus our Savior. Paul wrote he would count it all joy to suffer for Him.
Our perfect Savior suffered, He bled to death on the cross, and heard the vilest of words, and yet He still loved them all. So can we expect any less than Jesus? Can we expect to skip around the world’s darkness? Or do we make the Light shine?
I weep at the thought of forsaking my first love, my Jesus. As I kneel at His cross and ask forgiveness, Jesus reminds me of His Words of Promises. Through His Love for us, we are forgiven forever.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever”. (Psalms 23:6)
Where was I? Where was I when others were suffering and needed to know Jesus? Where was I when people just like me were in desperation? Where was I when all others around me were hungry for the Truth? Where am I now?
Jesus asks us “Where are you?”
The robber on the cross makes this scripture come alive to speak:
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
There is a new song in my heart since I first heard it. The world needs this song!
You and I can sing the same!
“The Cross meant to kill, is my Victory.” By David Crowder.
JESUS is The Victory! HE LIVES!