Blue Clouds Inspirational

Not Too Late, Never Too Dirty

Luke 23: 34-35, 39-43

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Easter, in my opinion, is the best time of the year. Usually the grass is growing and the weather is warming...oh and we are playing baseball. But we all know 2020 ain’t it! Even with all of the things that are frustrating and different about this Easter, the story of Christ dying on the cross for you and I really impacted me. It’s probably because I had a chance to put life on pause, slow down long enough to smell the roses, and let the story of the crucifixion and resurrection really speak to me. There is an exchange while Jesus is hanging on the cross that really touches my heart, and I just want to share it with you.

Let me set the stage a little bit. Jesus being perfect in word, thought, and deed, has been betrayed by one of his closest friends. He has been delivered to authorities only to be falsely accused and put to death. He is beaten within inches of his life. he is mocked, spat on, and hit. He is given a crown not of gold, but thorns.

Then after all of this, he’s told to carry the cross that would hold him up the hill to his destination. The soldiers nail his hands and his feet to that cross. Now to be honest I can’t stand splinters, let alone my hands and feet being nailed to a tree.

Finally they slid the cross into the hole and as Jesus weight comes down on that nail in his feet, undoubtedly it’s the most pain He’s ever experienced. In this pain, Jesus, who by all right and authority could have called down the angels of heaven to wipe Rome off the map, He gives us a glimpse of God’s love. In this moment he says in regards to the folks surrounding this situation: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, there were two fellas who were also being put to death by the Romans that day. They were criminals who had received their fair trial. They weren’t there because they hurt the feelings of the religious leaders; they were there justly. We call them thieves but in all reality that’s putting it too mildly. One of them turned to Jesus, knowing whom Jesus was said to be and said, “Can’t you get me out of this!?”

This guy reminds me of us today. He’s got himself in a bad spot. He deserves the wrath that’s about to befall him. He didn’t know he was talking to the Son of God. He didn’t know that Jesus had to die so that we could be saved from our sins. He wasn’t seeking salvation, he was seeking situational relief. What is it that you look for?

Now, there’s another criminal being justly executed on the other side of Jesus. I’m not sure if you have ever had a bad day but I do know that whenever I am sick, or hurt, I don’t want anyone to talk to me. I want to go into a dark room and sleep, or get away from everything. Jesus is having the worst day in history. His friend sold him out, his other friends had abandoned him, and the friend who said he’d never leave him has denied him three time. Add the emotional weight to every nerve in his body crying out in pain, and I think you understand where Jesus is on the cross. If there was ever a time where it would have been okay to say no, that was it! But Jesus shows his immeasurable and unfathomable love to a sinner condemned to die when he says “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

God’s love for us is so vast that even in the moment of death upon the cross, He stops to love the lost condemned to die.

Now, I tell you all of that to tell you this. We all screw up. We all fall short. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you’ve done; we are living in an age of grace, where Jesus Christ desires to forgive you of your sins and welcome you into His family. The stress, the guilt, the embarrassment of your sin can be washed away in a moment. If you ask Him.

I’ll leave you with the words of a song titled "Clean" by Natalie Grant:

I see shattered
You see whole
I see broken
But You see beautiful
And You're helping me to believe
You're restoring me piece by piece

There's nothing too dirty
That You can't make worthy
You wash me in mercy
I am clean
There's nothing too dirty
That You can't make worthy
You wash me in mercy
I am clean

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