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Friday, November 26, 2010

11/26/10- Luke 23:39-43 Grace at the Last Minute

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? 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.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Thoughts: Jesus was so full of grace, that he even forgave and offered peace to a robber in the midst of his own torture.  This is a great symbol for us.  It is a living parable of the prodigal son with this twist, it is never too late to come back to the Father as long as you have breath.  Earthly punishment may be by deeds (as the thief admits).  But God judges on relationship- do we know and love God or not?  For many this seems unfair, but it is better than fair.  If things were fair, no one would go to heaven.  But God is gracious and even welcomes a thief who believes in Him into paradise- into His presence. 

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for welcoming me back.  Thank you for your grace that gives another chance.  Help me to be more gracious to others around me, and to invite them too into paradise.

John Calvin abridged:  One of the robbers hurled insults.  When the wicked are in torment they seem to want to take revenge on others for the torments they cannot avoid.  The wicked, when they do not obtain what they want, would willingly tear God away from heaven.  The other thief shows God's amazing grace- that in a moment he would not only be torn from hell to heaven- when he was at death's door; but also that he was forgiven in a moment for the sins of a lifetime.  This robber shows remarkable faith in Christ- more than even the apostles (who ran away) had shown.  For in the midst of Jesus abasement he had faith in his kingdom.

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