The two thieves being crucified with Jesus were so filled with hate that even they were willing to use up some of their waning energy to hurl insults at the Lord (v.38, 44). The thieves on the cross, convicted and suffering the penalty of a cruel death, were still so deceived and filled with hate that they spent their final moments not reflecting on their own sin but instead trying to inflict more pain on someone else—what a horrible picture of how deceived mankind can be.
In one defining moment during the six hours of Jesus’ crucifixion, one of those thieves changed His mind about Jesus and was immediately offered love, forgiveness, and salvation by Christ (Luke 23:39-43).
Think about the contrast of man hanging on a cross and the Son of Man hanging on a cross.
Who is worthy of your adoration today?
Will you follow the ways of man or the ways of Christ?
Pilate put a choice before the Jews: Barabbas or Jesus? Barabbas was a robber (John 18:40), a notorious prisoner (Matt. 27:16), and a murdering insurrectionist (Luke 23:19). The people would rather put up with Barabbas on the streets than have Jesus in their lives.
It seems unthinkable that the Jews would choose Barabbas over Jesus, but we face these same kinds of choices every day; pornography or Jesus? Lying or Jesus? Gossip or Jesus? Adultery or Jesus? Selfishness or Jesus? Put your greatest temptation of sin in the place of Barabbas. Will you choose Jesus or that sin?
God calls us to choose between Him and the world.
The Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah and delivered Him over to Pilate, but it was the Roman government that agreed to crucify Jesus. The Jews beat Jesus and mocked and spit upon Him, and the Romans severely abused Him with scourging, mocking, spitting, and beating (Matt. 27:26-31). Who takes the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
Before Jesus went to the cross, He told Pilate that no man had the power to take His life from Him; He had the power to lay it down and to take it again (John 10:17-18). The Jews played a role in Jesus’ crucifixion, as did the Romans, but Christ Himself chose to lay down His life to demonstrate His love for sinners, sinners like you and me (Romans 5:8).
You had a role to play at the cross, as did I. How will this truth change the way you live today?
I’ve found myself asking this question many times lately to Christians who are trying to make life-changing decisions: If you find yourself at this same place six months from now, will you regret it?
Life is to be lived. God calls us to walk as wise and not fools, “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16). We can dream about tomorrow and plan to do this thing and that for the Lord in the future, but every day that passes shortens what future we have left to serve Him. Do something. Move off your comfortable square. Do what God says and you’ll never regret it.
Big bugs, little bugs, tolerable brown bugs, gross green bugs, creepy skinny bugs, freakish white bugs…all sorts of bugs were landing on my computer screen. Guess that’s what happens when you blog outdoors at night.
I was typing away about the Word of God, and these little creatures, completely disinterested in the powerful words on the screen, were tap dancing on the Scriptures. How completely oblivious they were to their annoying and disrespectful interaction with God’s Word. It was as if their quest for…well, whatever it is that makes a bug crawl all over a light source, was all they cared about, while the perfect words of their Creator were under their tiny little feet.
Throughout time, mankind has had this same disrespect for God’s Word. We the created take lightly the powerful words of the Creator and trample underfoot His truths in our quest for…well, whatever happens to be drawing a man to the things of this world that particular day. But God’s Word will stand forever. The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, you shall preserve them from this generation forever (Psalm 12:6-7).
Thank God for preserving His Word for you to read it. Ask God to deepen your love for the Scriptures.
The Emergency Broadcast System test message came across the radio in my car, and my youngest son fell into a state of panic. After all, the clouds above were ominously black, and the test message has a screechy tone like a military leader is about to announce that we’re under a bomb attack or the sky is about to fall. “No, sweetheart, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just a test, there’s no emergency,” I reassured his young heart.
“Then Mommy, why do they have to do that test, and why does it have to be so loud?”
Good question. As obnoxious as the test message is on the radio, we have to admit that the electronic screech gets our attention. It’s obnoxious and it sounds so 70’s, but it gets the job done.
The Psalmist wrote, “The LORD tests the righteous” (11:5). But why must we endure the tests? God loves us, and He’s preparing us for the challenges of life. His tests keep us alert and point us to Him. The tests often aren’t pleasant, but they’re necessary for our personal growth and protection under His loving watch care.
I see it all the time and I notice it also within myself: the people of God struggle to let others minister to us. We will drop everything and take a casserole to the sick, or sit through the night with a grieving friend, but we just cannot bring ourselves to let the shoe be on the other foot; we cannot allow others to help us when we ourselves are hurting.
When Jesus was fasting in the wilderness for forty days and then faced the temptations of Satan, the Bible says that “the angels ministered to Him” (Mark 1:13). How striking! Jesus who is our example in all things, the One who came not to be served but to serve, allowed the angels to minister to Him when He was physically weakened.
If you struggle to let others know when you’re in need, what is the reason?
When two men began to follow Jesus, He turned to them and asked a question that surely they realized they must answer for themselves: “What do you seek?” (John 1:38) We who are Christ followers, we must consider:
To follow Jesus, I must leave where I’m at and go somewhere new; am I willing to go wherever He goes?
To follow Jesus, I don’t decide where I’m going; He is in the lead, and that never changes. Am I willing to surrender?
To follow Jesus, I must consider why I’m making this choice to follow His direction. What is my expectation in following Christ?
Everybody’s looking for something. What are you looking for?
When Jesus called two of the disciples, He drew them with the words, “Come and see” (John 1:39). Soon after we see Phillip inviting Nathaniel to follow the Lord using those same words, “Come and see” (v.46). Nathaniel was imitating Jesus in both word and deed.
How carefully are you imitating Jesus? Speak His words to others. His words bring life.
“Friends don’t let friends”…you finish the sentence. The campaign slogan that originated to battle drunk driving has been recycled into clever catch-phrases for other agendas. Frederick Temple had his own version of “friends don’t let friends” about 100 years ago:
You who have yielded so readily to your friend’s persuasion and have joined him in doing wrong, you know not how many times a very little resistance would have saved both him and yourself. You know not how many times he was hesitating already and would have drawn back altogether if you had but given him an opening to do so. You know not how often at the very time he was arguing with you, he was in reality arguing against his own conscience and might have been turned back with ease if you had not given way.
Does your influence in your friend’s life make her a better person?