Today: Proverbs 10:21-30; Luke 23:26-56; Joshua 9:16-27; Joshua 10
There were two different kinds of people present when Jesus was crucified — the women “who were mourning and grieving for Him” (v.27) and the rulers, soldiers and crowds “who were sneering at Him” and “ridiculed Him.” (v.35-36) Even the two criminals who were crucified on either side of Jesus were split between these two diverse reactions to the cross.
“One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’ But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, ‘Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.'” Luke 23:39-41
The criminal who mocked Jesus took his cues from the loudest of the people there, those who were also mocking and hurling insults. He followed along with the crowd even as he died. Do not underestimate man’s capacity to reject Christ, even on his deathbed.
But the other criminal had a deathbed conversion. In his final moments, he recognized who Jesus was. And he recognized his own guiltiness. He didn’t have time to get baptized, or join a church, or do any good deeds. All he had time to do was simply recognize Jesus as the Savior, and confess his own sinfulness. He asked Jesus, “remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (v.42)
And Jesus answered, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (v.43)
And so it is with ALL of humanity. Jesus hangs in the center between those who reject and mock Him, and those who recognize their desperate need for His salvation. We either understand that death is our just sentence for our crimes or we don’t. We either understand the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice or we think it was pointless. Christ is the only way to salvation or He is not. There is no standing on the fence.
The mockers thought that Jesus’ death proved He was NOT divine. The mourners would soon understand that His death was their doorway to God.