BIBLE STORY: Repentance and Salvation. (Luke 23:32 – 24:49)
BIBLE VERSE: “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.” Luke 24:47b (NLT)
Being physically lost and being spiritually lost have many similarities. One of them is, that when we realize that we are lost, we need to change direction. There is one man in the Bible who is famous for changing the direction of his life without moving from the spot he was in. He could not move. He was nailed on a cross next to Jesus. The first criminal chose to mock Jesus by joining the crowd in taunting Jesus to save Himself, but the other gave us an example to follow of repentance.
“Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Luke 23:40 (NLT)
He admitted his own sin and that he deserved to be punished. He recognized Jesus as sinless, and acknowledged that Jesus was God’s Son, the Messiah. He knew Jesus was the only one to turn to, and that is exactly what he did. And Jesus responded. “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 (NLT)
One interesting thing about this exchange, is a question: Who told the second criminal about Jesus? Perhaps he was simply around during Jesus’ trial long enough to hear. But Jesus didn’t talk very much. Perhaps he heard the words of the weeping women along the road as they carried their crosses. But most people were cursing Jesus and spitting at Him. Someone must have shared with him.
Someone must share Jesus with the people around you. People around you may not know that they are lost in sin. But if they have not accepted Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, they are stuck in sin as surely as the criminals were nailed to the crosses. To be free from sin, they need to follow the example the criminal gave. Repent. Turn around. Change direction.
But they can’t do that if you don’t tell them. You must share the message. You might not get a positive response. You might be jeered by the crowd. You might lose friendships. But without you telling them, they might never realize what the second criminal did. That they can turn their lives around and give their lives to Jesus.