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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 25 What Will You Do At Calvary?

 

As I was listening to a wonderful message/lesson from our pastor this morning I was brought to reflect on the thief on the cross next to Jesus. A man, guilty of the crimes that he was accused of and sentenced to die on a cross. One of the most gruesome forms of death, which the Romans used, for the most desperate of criminals, and this man found himself in this most desperate situation (Next to our Lord!).

Here was a man who went up the same mountain that Jesus walked up, a man who was crucified next to the Son of God, but one who justly deserved the fate he was receiving. This man’s time with Jesus is a great picture of what our Lord came to do. This thief walked up that mountain, in the darkness of sin, lost, hopeless and seemingly with no way out, but what occurred there deserves our attention.

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” Matthew 27:38

And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.” Mark 15:27

We have two thieves, both guilty, condemned sinners—both hanging on crosses, dying for their crimes along with the innocent Son of God. Yet there is a most significant difference, one left changed, one didn’t. What was the difference? They both went up thieves, but one came down different (yes, dead but not the lost sinner who went up that morning), the other one came down to reap the just desserts of his own personal choices without Jesus.

Paul’s personal testimony to King Agrippa gives us insight into the difference—the effects of the Gospel of Jesus, which Paul heard from the Lord Himself at their encounter:

But rise,

and stand upon thy feet:

for I have appeared unto thee

for this purpose,

to make thee a minister

and a witness

both of these things

which thou hast seen,

and of those things

in the which

I will appear unto thee;

17 Delivering thee

from the people,

and from the Gentiles,

unto whom now I send thee,

18 To open their eyes,

and to turn them from darkness

to light,

and from the power of Satan

unto God,

that they may receive

forgiveness of sins,

and inheritance

among them

which are sanctified

by faith that is in me.”    Acts 26:16-18

To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God….”—what Jesus came to do for all who would come to Him, “by faith that is in me”! Jesus came to Calvary for that very thief who was dying beside Him, and He came for you and me if we will look to HIM!

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Jesus came to reveal Himself as that “great light” to all who walk in darkness, and that includes you and me. It also included both of those thieves who were there beside Jesus Christ, The Son of God! Yet what was their response? Each had a choice. What will you do with your choice?

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. 39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, ……. …..43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” Matthew 27:38-39 & 43-44

These two thieves were reviling Jesus along with the passersby and the religious leaders; they just joined in with the crowd (just like today). How often people of our day do the same, yet something changed for one of these thieves. There are always choices: and there were those who believed on Him and were sorrowful at what was happening to Jesus, as well as the scoffers and rejecters.

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” Luke 23:27-28

At some time during the suffering of The Lord one of the thieves made a choice different from his companion. And when we come face to face with the question, “What will you do with Jesus?” we making a decision that has eternal consequences! Choose wisely!

And one of the malefactors which were hanged

railed on him,

saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself

and us.

40 But the other answering

rebuked him, saying,

Dost not thou fear God,

seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly;

for we receive the due reward

of our deeds:

but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus,

Lord,

remember me

when thou comest

into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said unto him,

Verily I say unto thee,

Today

shalt thou be with me

in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

We find here the same dilemma that is played out every day in the lives of men and women all over the world. One person demanded deliverance on his terms, saying to Jesus: “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us”! He had no faith in Jesus; he simply wanted relief from his present difficult situation, which he had brought on himself, by his own choices. Both of these men were reviling Jesus, yet something had brought a change to one of these two thieves. During this reviling of Jesus, one thief recognized his lost and sinful condition and the sinless person hanging next to him. He acknowledged Jesus as “Lord”—the “Lord” of HISkingdom”, and He chose to ask for the only thing that could deliver him—the saving grace of the One giving His own life as the sacrifice for our sins!!! The sacrifice for your sins and mine; the sins of the thief hanging on that other cross. A man who couldn’t go through any religious rituals, who couldn’t do anything to show his remorse, but in his acknowledgment of his own need, he turned to the only one who could deliver him from the wages of his sin—death.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:20-23

Sin is the issue and Jesus is the only solution to our sin problem. And while one thief recognized his own sinfulness, and trusted that Jesus had the power and authority to deliver him, the other missed the same opportunity.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Jesus is the giver of “eternal life”, because He bought and paid for our salvation with His own blood, right next to these two thieves—one believed and one didn’t. What about you?

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin

is death;

but the gift of God

is eternal life

through Jesus Christ

our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23

Jesus offers eternal life to all who will believe and accept Him as their Lord and King! But we must see that we are in darkness and only Jesus can bring us into the light.

This I say therefore,

and testify in the Lord,

that ye henceforth walk not

as other Gentiles walk,

in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated

from the life of God

through the ignorance

that is in them,

because of the blindness

of their heart:”    Ephesians 4:17-18

We are all born into darkness, we all have that in common with the thief, with one another, and Paul states the facts of the situation in Ephesians 2:1-6:

And you hath he quickened,

who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked

according to the course of this world, according to the prince

of the power of the air,

the spirit that now worketh

in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all

had our conversation

in times past

in the lusts of our flesh,

fulfilling the desires of the flesh

and of the mind;

and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God,

who is rich in mercy,

for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead

in sins,

hath quickened us

together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together,

and made us sit together

in heavenly places

in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 2:1-6

It is imperative that we recognize our sin and turn to Jesus—the light of the world, which is in darkness without HIM!

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

Giving thanks unto the Father,

which hath made us meet

to be partakers

of the inheritance

of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us

from the power of darkness,

and hath translated us

into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption

through his blood,

even the forgiveness of sins:”   Colossians 1:12-14

Jesus the one– “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins”! He overcame sin, death and hell for us, that we might have life!!!

Who gave himself for our sins,

that he might deliver us

from this present evil world,

according to the will of God

and our Father:

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”   Galatians 1:4-5

Jesus gave Himself for me and for you, but what will you do with Him and His sacrifice for you? Will you walk up that hill of recognition of sin, and let Jesus bring you down a new creature “in Christ”? But we must understand that when we follow Jesus and identify with Him, we will pay a price. What people did to Him they will do us who belong to Him.

If ye were of the world,

the world would love his own:

but because ye are not of the world,

but I have chosen you

out of the world,

therefore the world hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you,

The servant is not greater than his lord.

If they have persecuted me,

they will also persecute you;

if they have kept my saying,

they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you

for my name’s sake,

because they know not him

that sent me.” John 15:19-21

So, what is your response? Will you walk up Calvary’s Hill to Jesus, or go your own way? And if you already belong to Jesus, recommit yourself to be all that God has created and called you to be, because Jesus is our life and hope!

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

Please don’t choose to walk without Jesus, but rather walk with Him, and then you can do “all” that He has called you to do. Walk in Jesus’ light—and rejoice in Him because:

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

And you can—in His light!!! Remember:

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Yes, you can!!! Because He is the light who has come!!! Won’t you walk with Him? The light that He gives will brighten every step of your way!!!

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1

Will you (Or have you already?) walk up that Hill of Calvary and face your sin, and believe that Jesus is sufficient to deliver you from the penalty of sin, death and hell? If you will, you can walk down with that same assurance that delivered the thief who called on the only hope he had—JESUS! And He’s still the ONLY hope for life eternal!!!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

The ONLY Way for YOU and ME!