Jesus Christ is king over a kingdom of sinners-turned-saints by the redemption in his blood. We are made new by his sacrifice. We are made holy by God’s mercy. We are made alive by the working of the Spirit within.
Enter into a time of connection with this great God, this mighty king, this moving Spirit. Worship the One who is worthy of true worship.
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The second criminal demonstrated great humility as he reprimanded the first and asked Jesus to remember him in paradise. I used to think humility meant saying “Aw, shucks” when someone said you did something well. I thought it meant not taking credit for something you had done. But this criminal shows that true humility is realizing the greatness of God, acknowledging God is truly holy, and we are not.
We live in a culture of pride. We’re proud of our football teams, our state of origin, our nation, etc., so it can be hard to realize when we are being prideful in our spiritual lives. Can you see it in the difference between the two criminals?
One tried to make himself feel better by putting Jesus down; the other admitted his weakness and asked for mercy. Remember the childhood dinner prayer? “God is great, God is good....”
Remembering this can do a lot to humble us and draw our focus to the greatness and goodness of our God.
Good and gracious God, I ask for forgiveness for all the ways I put my own thoughts and desires above yours. Lead me to the path of righteousness and remind me of how small I am in comparison to you. Thank you, God, that as you are great; you are also good. Amen.
Go forward in confidence of the rule and reign of Christ, the community of fellow believers, and the hope that is to be fulfilled.
Remember Jesus Christ as lowly infant, humble carpenter, and servant king. Remember him as invisible God made flesh, firstborn of creation, everlasting Prince of Peace.
Live fully into the abundant life offered you, and give thanks.