Less than five minutes after we walk through the door….Power Outage!! My first response, “I have posted my blog yet, what will people think?” and my logical husband starts to laugh with “We aren’t the only ones without power. No one can read it anyway.”
He cracked himself up, so when I walked into my office to start working and flicked the switch up…more laughter erupted. It was also his wisdom that pointed out I have a battery life on my laptop so I didn’t have to hand write the blog. He is so smart (and smart-alecky but that is one of the reasons I love him so much), glad he is on my side.
Pastor shared MANY Scripture verses this morning to show the importance and significance of the cross in Jesus’ crucifixion. We read about “The Triumphant Entry” in all four Gospels before journeying in both Old and New Testament of supporting Scripture verses. The ones we looked at I had seen or heard before yet eight verses in Luke grabbed me like never before.
Read Luke 23:36-43 with me (Bold print added for emphasis)
“The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine and vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
There was a written notice above him, which read, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS”.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him:
“Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” BUT the other criminal rebuked him.
“Don’t you fear God,” he said “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. BUT this man has done nothing wrong!”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him,
“I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise!”
Did you catch the contrast between the two thieves’ attitudes? Both nailed to a cross with Jesus Christ nailed to His own cross between them. Both have the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness for their sins. They are not looking up into the eyes of Jesus but a mere turn of their head and they were at eye level -- looking into the shalom of God as Man; dying for their sins…dying for your sins…dying for mine!
Which thief are you? Both are nailed to a cross next to Jesus, both are guilty of sin, and both recognize Jesus as the Son of God. All three hang with their blood dripping to the ground and beads of sweat trailing through their dust-covered bodies leaving rivers of bare skin to burn in the sun.
One joins the mockers and “hurls” insults at Jesus instead of repenting while the other says, “Back off Dude! We are guilty and deserve to die BUT the King of Jews doesn’t deserve this. Get a grip.” Even a thief recognizes the Truth and has the strength and power to stand up for what is right. Would you have come to Jesus defense or joined in the mockery?
However, get this; the one didn’t stop at defending Jesus but boldly makes a request: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” These weren’t empty words spoken. Only God can see the heart and it is obvious this man’s heart was open to Jesus’ saving grace and mercy. Jesus assures this thief he will be with him in paradise. Wow!
Why did this touch me so much today? Yesterday I was asked a question – “Have you forgiven the people responsible for Heidi’s kidnapping and murder?” Up until a couple weeks ago, I prayed for God to touch the hearts of those responsible and/or with knowledge so they would bring Heidi home BUT after listening to a radio talk show, I stopped. The message, “Remember the people you pray for will be with you in heaven.”
Ouch! This one statement took the wind from my lungs and the hope from my heart. As I thought about the eternal consequence of my prayers, I cried.
The positive is I will spend eternity with Jesus, my friends, family, and those I’ve yet to meet that lived for the Lord while on earth.
BUT this also means I could spend eternity with those responsible for Heidi’s kidnapping and murder. I don’t think it was a coincidence my friend asked me her question on Saturday after I’ve spent a couple weeks chewing on this concept of WHO will and who COULD be in heaven with me. We talked, prayed, and I left with more food for thought.
Out of all the verses we looked at today, it was this one from Luke that touched me the most. “Don’t you fear God,” he said “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. BUT this man has done nothing wrong!”
Jesus died for ALL our sins – every man, woman and child! Not just me or those in my small little “Lisa Bubble” of life – Jesus even died for those responsible for the kidnapping and murder of my beloved sister, Heidi M. Allen. He is a merciful and gracious God.
I won’t lie to you and say I’m there yet. I grasp the concept and know I should not hold unforgiveness in my heart. There are more than enough Scripture verses to emphasize the importance of forgiveness and the bondage it frees us from yet my heart and mind can’t accept this level of forgiveness yet.
Will I continue to pray for Heidi’s return?
Will I continue to pray for those responsible to tip off the sheriff’s department so Heidi can be returned to us? YES
Will I pray for their souls?
Have you ever experienced a pain you didn’t think you could forgive? Is there a Scripture verse or two that helped you see it God’s way in the midst of unforgiveness? Thanks in advance for sharing and your prayers when God places it on your heart.
A special thanks to my friend and sister who loves me enough to challenge me!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323