April 8, 2022
| Apr 3, 2022
Encounter: The Dying Thief
Scripture: Luke 23:32-43 NLT
Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 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.”
Hope was all that dying criminal had left, and he recognized it could only come from you. And you, in the midst of your own excruciating pain and suffering, gave him hope that extended beyond his and into an immediate and eternal paradise. I can’t imagine his life prior to this moment on a cross next to you, but I know from first-hand experience the overwhelming peace that comes from life with you. I know one day I will meet this man, and I can’t wait to tell him how you rescued me, too. What stories we will have for each other! In your amazing grace, amen.
Read all of 40 Days of Prayer at easter.crossings.church.