Luke 23:32-55 Selected (NLT)
32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. ……
39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
44 By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.
An Armenian friend told me that whenever you get two Armenians in a room, you get three opinions. It seems as there is no shortage of opinions. How could there be more opinions than people? There is often more than meets the eye. There is the seen and the unseen.
Jesus still offered grace and mercy even while on the cross. He pleaded for our forgiveness to the Father while the world was crucifying him. He told the one criminal he would be with Jesus in paradise. He offered one sentenced to death, eternal life.
We have an enemy whose goal it is to kill and steal and destroy. He also wants to separate us from God. He will use whatever means needed to keep us from reaching our destiny. Satan was here in this world even before Adam and Eve. He was thrown down from heaven to earth. With fear, uncertainty and doubt, he will try to stop us in our tracks. He will even use a virus to stop us. It is amazing how something so small can cause such havoc. All it takes is the spreading of a little doubt. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b). Just a little doubt is all it takes to lead us down the wrong path. The media took that doubt and ran with it.
I took a course called the Masterworks Leadership Academy with David Schroeder. It was phenomenal. I learned so many things. I learned that there is more than meets the eye in many places. We have this world and the Spiritual realm. There were three Crosses at Golgotha but four deaths! Jesus had a criminal on either side of him so there were three crosses. So who was the fourth death. It was Satan! When Jesus breathed His last, the sacrifice was made. The price was paid in full. It was finished! Sin and death were overcome and Satan was defeated. He just hasn’t fallen down yet. The lake of fire awaits.
Our enemy has sent us a distraction. Something he thinks will stop us. Something to distract us. You didn’t think it was from God, did you? Are you going to buy in to Satan’s lies or will you keep your eyes on the Prize? We are the beloved of God. We are holy, righteous and redeemed in Him. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. I know you are worried. Remember who is in charge. A thousand may fall at your side. Ten thousand at your right hand. But it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes…. Fear not, for He is with you.
Lord, thank You for caring for us. Our hope is in You. Since You have our back, we can rest peacefully in You. Although we face serious challenges in the world, we are always held in the palm of Your hand. By Your grace, You will prosper us in the face of trouble. In Your name we live and breath. Amen.