“Save yourself, and us!”

Luke 23:39, 42-43

During this Lenten season we’ve been talking about unexpected prophets of the passion. Individuals who speak the truth concerning Jesus and God’s plan of salvation even though they themselves were perhaps unaware. Today we consider one of the criminals that hung beside Jesus on the cross.

It was bad enough that Jesus was wrongfully accused and even wrongfully sentenced to death but even as he’s hanging on the cross he’s with the wicked, hung between two criminals, two thieves that rightfully deserved that sort of punishment and death. And as he is there he is ridiculed and mocked by the religious leaders and others that say “if you are the Christ, if you are the King of the Jews, save yourself and come down from that cross!”

One of the criminals even decides that he’s gonna chime in and we hear about this in Luke chapter 23 verse 39 as it says

One of the criminals hanging there was blaspheming him, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39)

However, Jesus was exactly that. He was the Christ, the Messiah, and he was carrying out just what the criminal said. Saving him and all mankind through his death as payment for sin. Yes even though he was unaware, even though the crowds were unaware, Jesus was carrying out this act of salvation. Even though that criminal didn’t believe it the other man did. As we hear he chastised the first criminal and he turns to Jesus and says

“Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.”
Jesus said to him, “Amen I tell you: Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

Yes, Jesus was carrying out the plan of salvation as the Messiah, the Christ. Help us to recognize him also as our Savior. The one who died for us, for our sin, to win for us eternal life paradise in heaven. Amen.

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