Which Thief Are You? ~ 20160325 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
03/25 Which Thief Are You?; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20160325_good-friday.mp3
Good Friday; Crucified Thieves
What is the difference between these two thieves? Both were being crucified. Both asked to be saved. The one thief was mocking, in unbelief, and said 'if you are the Christ save yourself and us'.
But the other thief recognized something. He recognized something about himself. He deserved to be there. He was getting what he deserved. He wasn't looking for the easy way out. He was owning up to the consequences of his own actions. He understood that the wages of sin is death, and he knew he was going to die. He was hanging on a cross, Roman soldiers standing by. This is justice... the 'sentence of condemnation'... “we are receiving the due reward of our deeds”
But it seems this thief was looking past death to what was coming after. “We are receiving the due reward of our deeds” If this is what justice demands in a human court of law when my actions are tried, if I am under a “sentence of condemnation,” what do I deserve when I stand before the judge of all the earth, the one who sees the hidden thoughts and intentions of the heart? “Do you not fear God?” he asks. If this is what we deserve from the government, what does it look like to stand guilty before a perfect, holy, righteous God? “Do you not fear God?”
But rather than utter despair, this thief had hope. He saw hope in Jesus. He had heard Jesus pray for those who nailed him to the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus is inclined to forgive - even those who have done great evil. Jesus is one who has authority to forgive sins. He has access to intercede on behalf of sinners before the throne of God.
We don't know how much this thief understood, but he recognized that he was getting what he deserved, but Jesus had done nothing wrong. Yet Jesus was not crying out 'unfair, unfair, I don't deserve this'; rather he was using it as an opportunity to forgive. I don't know if this thief began to understand that Jesus was willingly paying the price before his Father for the sins of others, but this thief saw something in Jesus, and it caused him to place all his hope in this Jesus. He recognized that Jesus was indeed a King, a King of a different kind of kingdom, and he wanted to be part of that kingdom. He recognized that although Jesus' hands and feet were nailed, Jesus was not bound, h was not powerless or limited. He saw in Jesus a King who was mighty to save. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”
Let me ask you a question: Which thief are you? I'm not asking if you are a thief; that is a given; you are. All we like sheep have gone astray. None is righteous, no not one. All have sinned. You have stolen God's glory, you have failed to give him the honor and praise and thanks that he deserves. You have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. You are just as guilty before a holy God as the thieves who were crucified with Jesus. Are you just looking for an easy way to get out of your punishment? Or do you see your sin, do you recognize what you deserve, do you see hope in Jesus?
Recognize what you deserve.
Recognize Jesus is inclined to forgive sinners
Recognize Jesus got what you deserve
Recognize Jesus is a King who is eager to share what he has earned with those who don't deserve it. you then can get what Jesus deserves
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org