What I read today
Numbers 17-18; Psalm 67; Jeremiah 1; Luke 23; 1 Thessalonians 2
They beat the nails into his wrists and feet. The lifted up the cross and dropped it into a hole. As the cross dropped into the hole his entire body must have had shockwaves of pain. He watches as the soldiers gamble for his clothes. The thief to his right and left hurl insults at him. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes scoff at him and laugh. The soldiers mock him and laugh at the sarcastic sign that Pilate has placed above his head.
The thief keeps looking at him. Slowly he stops insulting him. Unnoticed by everyone in the crowd he begins contemplating how he got here. How it all came to this. His life had amounted to nothing. He was a criminal. A thief. He wasn’t worthy of pity or mercy. He was getting what he deserved, and he knew it.
The other thief just keeps on talking. Arrogantly, he says, “hey if your so great Jesus get us all down from here and save us.” Jesus remains silent.
As the time slowly goes by the other thief just won’t stop. Finally, the thief can’t take it anymore. The guilt and shame now weighing him down he does the first good thing he’s done in a long time. He yells at the other thief, “Don’t you get it? We blew it. We had all the chances in the world, and we took the easy way out. We’re criminals getting what we deserved. This man he’s done nothing wrong. So do the world a favor and shut your mouth.”
Slowly he looks at Jesus. Jesus is looking back at him. The thief looks away. He puts his head down. He stares at the ground. Finally, he says, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Just remember me. He knows he doesn’t deserve anything else.
Incredibly Jesus keeps looking at him and then he says, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The thief can’t believe what he’s just heard. It can’t be, he thinks to himself. I don’t deserve any mercy. But Jesus, for some unknown reason, just gave me forgiveness.
We are all like that thief. None of us deserve God’s grace and mercy. We’ve all failed so many times that if you weighed our good deeds versus our sinful actions, the scale wouldn’t even be close. Yet Jesus says, it’s never too late. There’s always time. His grace and mercy extend to us all.