Lessons from the Cross 2
'Assuredly... today you will be with me in paradise.' Luke 23:43 NKJ
Lesson 2: Reach out to others. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, 'One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God... We are punished justly... But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom." Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise"' (Luke 23:39-43 NIV). One man mocked, the other acknowledged he was wrong and received mercy. The truth is, God said 'If you confess and reject (your sin), you will receive mercy' (Proverbs 28:13 NCV). That promise is for us all.
Even though Jesus had been battered and was fighting for breath as he hung on the cross, he wasn't blind to other people's pain and suffering. In the depth of his own agony he not only promised the thief on the cross eternal life, he comforted him with these amazing words: 'Today you will join me in paradise!'
There's a lesson here - one that Job learned. Job lost everything in one day. But, he went on to better days. How? Listen: 'After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes again and gave him twice as much as he had before ... After this, Job...saw his children and their children to the fourth generation' (Job 42:10 & 16 NIV).
So what now? Reach out to other people in pain and you'll start to see your own suffering differently.
Soulfood: Joel 1-3, Luke 23:1-12, Ps 43, Prov 10:17-18