Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Thief on the Cross

The thief dying on the cross next to Jesus said, "Jesus, remember me in your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Do you know what is amazing about that statement? He was trusting a dying man to save him! Jesus was covered with blood, with nails in His hands and feet, and looked totally helpless. The religious leaders and soldiers had asked Him to come down from the cross, but apparently Jesus didn't even have the power to do that. Can you imagine trusting a bloody, helpless man to save you?

The thief could have said, "Jesus, you're dying on a cross, and I'm dying on a cross." Why don't you pay for 80% of my sins on your cross, and I'll pay for the other 20% on my cross." That's what some people say. "Lord, you do your part, and I'll do my part. I'll pay for my part by going to church, by feeling guilty, and by trying my best." But it doesn't work that way. There can't be 2 Saviors--both you and Jesus. You must trust Jesus to pay for all of your sins. That's 100%. God can't save us until we stop trying to save ourselves.

A boy was drowning in a lake. His mother couldn't swim, but stood on the shore and cried out for someone to help. A man stood nearby but made no effort to save him. As the boy was going down for the last time, the man dove into the water, rescued him, and brought him to shore. The mother asked, "Why did you wait to save him?" The man replied, "As long as he was trying to save himself, he would have dragged me down with him. But when he stopped trying to save himself, then I could save him."

God wants to use the thief on the cross as a role model for us:
1) He knew he didn't deserve salvation
2) He knew he couldn't save himself
3) He placed his faith in a dying Savior
4) He called out to Jesus to be saved.
If you'll follow the example of the thief on the cross, Jesus will remember you in His kingdom as well.