But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Luke 23:40-42 CSB
Day 5 of the “Famous Last Words” devotional from ByTheWell4God has us reflecting on the seriousness of salvation in Christ and what exactly it is that we should be concerned with. In Luke 23 we see the scene of Christ up on the cross with two thieves hanging beside him. The first thief cries out to Christ in a mocking way…”Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”. He is more concerned with his temporary condition; the fact that he is suffering and facing imminent death and he’s only concerned with receiving relief from that moment. The second thief gives us the example of how it is we should approach Christ’s sacrifice and our salvation.
The second thief begins by confessing his guilt. Recognizing that he is a sinner and he deserves punishment for his sin. We should do the same and repent of our own sin behavior before Christ.
The second thief then goes on to acknowledge Christ and his sinlessness. Christ did not deserve to be up on that cross suffering in the way that those men were. This is the beauty of the Gospel, that Christ suffered and died in our place…taking on the punishment that we deserve for our sins.
The second man then asks that Christ remember him when He comes into His kingdom. This man is more concerned with his eternal condition than his present condition just as we should be.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee us a life of less suffering but, in fact, we are promised persecution as followers of Christ.
“Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” John 15:20 CSB
We see many examples throughout scripture of Christ followers suffering for their faith such as Paul, Stephen, and the other apostles. Currently there are Christians around the world who are suffering persecution in various degrees because of their faith in Jesus. However, the Bible offers us some comfort in regards to this suffering we experience here on earth.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
This eternal perspective is what the second thief had as he asked Christ to remember him when He entered His kingdom and it’s the same eternal perspective that we should have as we live out our life as Christ followers. The suffering we will experience is only temporary and we can look forward to an eternity with Jesus.
So which man are you going to be like? Are you more worried about your earthly suffering than the wrath of God that we all deserve?
If you’d like to see the Bible art journaling process for this time of study then check out my process video below!