Good morning, and a most blessed Thursday morning to you!
I had a dream recently where I was on a mission trip. I was trying to share Jesus with this little kiddo. In my dream he asked me a question saying, “Well, how old do you think I'll be when I go to prison?” He just knew that prison was his allotment in life. Then I told him, “You don't have to go to prison. You can know Jesus. You can know the love of God.” I woke up smiling, knowing that this little kid (even though it's all in my imagination… my dream) that word of forgiveness, and love in Jesus Christ is for all of us.
Then I was thinking about prison, and what leads some people to end up there. Why do different people end up in prison? What are the paths that lead people there?
Then I thought of one criminal in scripture: one of the two criminals who hung on a cross next to Jesus; the one who received mercy. Luke 23:39-43
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43 He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
We don’t know what led that criminal to execution. We don't know what crime he had committed. But he knew that he deserved to be there. In our sin, we deserve the full penalty of God's wrath upon us. And yet, just as Christ had mercy for that criminal who hung next to him, Christ has mercy on us. The whole point of him hanging on that cross is to have mercy for us. And the whole purpose that we know of the forgiveness of our sins is that so we can live with him eternally in Paradise. We also have the privilege of going and sharing the love of Jesus, and the good news, so that no one has to suffer the eternal wrath of of God.
I don't know why I had that weird dream. But I'm so glad that it reminded me that it's never too late to share the good news. And it's never too early to share the good news. The good news truly is for all.
Let’s pray. Lord, we thank you so much for your mercy that never fades, and never runs out. Continue to deliver your mercy through us to those who would hear. We ask that you would soften the hearts of those that we are going to come in contact with in the next 24 hours, and that you would have your word of love and mercy upon our lips. Lord, we thank you for this day. We thank you for this life, and we thank you for the life eternal that is promised in you. We lift this to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful rest of your week, and I look forward to worshiping with you once again this Sunday,
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