Grace is like that part 2
By Ysrael De la Cruz
Last week I spoke and taught about grace. We learned that grace is God’s unmerited savor or kindness to us. Grace is to receive or get something we don’t deserve. This was the case of the criminal Barabbas; he got his freedom because Jesus was condemned. The grace of God is extended to everyone no matter what they’ve done. Today I would like to show you another example of someone who did not deserve the grace of God, but found it. This is the story of a criminal (robber) who were crucified with Jesus.
Grace is extended to everyone, but not everyone wants it. Grace saves only those who embrace it. The Bible says that those who believed in Jesus has gained access to God’s grace. (Romans 5:2)Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. Titus 2:11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.
Grace is offered to all, but only those who believe gain access to grace. Only those who believe benefit from grace.
During Jesus’ crucifixion, the Romans crucified two criminals beside Jesus. One on his right and one on his left. The gospel writers agreed that Jesus’ cross was between their crosses.
v.32) Two criminals were led away to be put to death with him. (one on his right and the other on his left)
Even in such situation Jesus extended forgiveness to all. “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (v.34) Jesus forgave those who insulted him, those who hated and made him suffer; those who wanted him dead.
Picture the scene of the crucifixion, everything that was happening hours before Jesus died.
v.34) They cast lots to divide his garments. (This is a fulfillment of the prophecy. Psalm 22:18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
-People stood by watching (v.35)
-The rulers scoffed at him. (v.35) “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!
-The soldiers mocked him (v.36) offered him sour wine. “If you are the kings of the Jews, save yourself!
The sign above Jesus. (v.38) There was also an inscription (tittle or label) over him which read. “This is the king of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hurled insults at Jesus (railed at him) v.39
Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!
The other criminal had a change of heart (v.40)
He rebuked the one who insulted Jesus. “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly (we deserve to be here), for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
That criminal had a change of heart; he recognized he and his partner deserved to be condemned for their crimes. He acknowledged Jesus was innocent and did not deserve to be there.
This criminal found grace hours before his death. He asked Jesus to remember him. (“Remember me when you come into your kingdom”) He acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah king. How did he know Jesus was a king?
Faith comes from hearing, and this criminal heard what people were saying about Jesus and at the end of his life, he acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus promised him salvation for he sought grace and found. He was lost and now was found. Grace is like that.
This man trusted Jesus as the Savior by his statement to remember him.
The thief on the cross has been subject of great debates among Christians.
He did not attend church, was not baptized, did not know much about the bible and still made it to heaven.
This thief on the cross is not an example that show people don’t need to be baptized for salvation. His situation would not allow him to be baptized. He is on a cross dying. Baptism was commanded days after the resurrection.
He had Jesus physically with him before he died. Jesus saved him right on the spot. Today, you will be with me in paradise.
I heard a preacher talk about this thief in a humorous way as to how surprising it would be for people in heaven to see him there.
You are not supposed to be here. What church did you go to? I did not go to church.
Were you a follower baptized into Christ? No
Did you understand the doctrine of justification by faith? I had no idea what justification is.
Then, how did you make it here? There’s got to be a mistake!
The man in the middle cross told me I can come.
Grace is like that.
This thief on the cross found grace because he found Jesus. Grace is offered to everyone; it is yours if you so desire it.