He is the KING

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Some five hundred years back, Isaiah made an unusual prophecy about the Messiah that, “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 52:12). We see the fulfillment of this prophecy in the gospels when Jesus was crucified  flanked on either side by criminals. Isaiah also foresaw how the world would reject Him and recorded in his own words, “we hid our faces from Him”. Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary to China took samples of religious arts to explain the birth, ministry and the death of Jesus. When he showed the paintings of crucifixion, the audience reacted with repulsion and horror. They said in sheer disgust, ‘we don’t want to worship a crucified God’. We still hear those same angry voices everywhere in this world. Unlike the dying thief who repented, many have failed to see this as God’s perfect plan of salvation for all of mankind. Jesus threw open the gates of paradise at the cross of calvary. The way is open but it is our response that will guarantee us a place in heaven.

Choice

Our entrance to paradise depends on our choice. Jesus on the cross with the criminals on both sides is a perfect depiction of God’s redemptive design to the dying world. The two thieves, one accepting and the other rejecting; represent the two significant choices of humanity. The derisive laughter of the soldiers, rulers and chief priests expressing contempt and ridicule is a persuasion from the enemy to sway our allegiance from God to the world. Every day in our life we need to make a voluntary choice to be on God’s side. It is not an easy decision to make when others around you have an opposing view. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was asked whether he thought God was on his side. He replied, “sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is that we should be on God’s side”.

Conversion

There are people who have this incredible “never say sorry” attitude. You often find them without any conscience; they lack empathy, remorse or guilt. It is possible for a man to even die holding on to his subtle arrogance without feeling a tinge of remorse for his evil actions. In 1830 George Wilson was found guilty of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. The President at that time was Andrew Jackson. He issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The Chief Justice Marshall had to finally decide on the case. Marshall wrote, “A pardon is only a slip of paper, its value is determined by the one who accepts it. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged. The humility to accept ones mistake comes only when the Holy Spirt brings us to a place of conviction. The words of the dying thief, ‘Don’t you fear God’ , ‘we are punished justly’, ‘for we are getting what our deeds deserve’, reveals his quickened conscience and the spirit of conviction. His soul was ready to be restored and Jesus offered him pardon. It is the road to conversion that leads us to the gates of heaven.

Confession

It was customary to place the accusation above the cross and the inscription read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”. No one believed Jesus to be the King. His repeated narratives on the Kingdom of God had only become a cliché even to His disciples. The final declaration of the thief, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, is an article of faith to what He had come to believe in the span of three hours. When others have struggled to grapple with the truth, the thief made a confession loud and clear which the world will soon come to embrace – That Jesus is Lord and His Kingdom is soon to come!

Sheridon Vedhavinod

Sheridon Vedhavinod is a software professional who obeyed the call of God in his life to enter God’s ministry in 2003. He is a gifted Bible teacher, gospel singer and Senior Pastor of King of Glory Sanctuary, Chennai. He serves as the Executive Director in El-Bethel Endtime Missions. He is also a member of the gospel quartet - The New Covenant Singers.


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