When Jesus was crucified on the cross, there were two criminals who were crucified with Him. Jesus (Yeshua Hamashiach) was sinless and both men with him were sinners. The thief on one of the crosses next to Jesus asked for Jesus to remember him. The other thief mocked Him…
Luke 23:39-43 39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
When the thief admonished the other criminal, he did so rightly…he spoke up and showed that he knew who Jesus was! From the words that Jesus said to him in response, I’m certain that this thief journeyed on the road to Heaven and the other thief who mocked journeyed on the road to Hell…
When we come to the cross of Jesus, we are saved, justified by His sacrifice, by nothing that we have done…but here’s a comparison that I want you to consider. When the Children of Israel were rescued from Egypt, they too were saved. However, as time progressed they fell away from God and from believing His promises. They began to live as if they were no longer followers and chose rebellion instead…okay…now it’s time for you say that you haven’t chosen rebellion against God. The Israelite people chose idol worship, sorcery, lust, immorality, drunkenness, piety, hatred, jealousy, they grumbled and moaned against God and Moses…just to name a few. How many of us today are guilty of these same choices?
I’m going to give you a few examples of poor choices that most of don’t even think about twice, but I’m not going to delve deeply into it… so here goes. Many of us enjoy the Hallmark channel and often credit it with wholesome entertainment, but it eludes to magic & sorcery in much of it’s programming. Many of us say that we enjoy a glass of wine or a beer now and then, but how often does that glass of wine make some of us silly and distort our personalities…I’ve heard some say that the wine or beer allows them to relax and be themselves. Then there’s those of us who sit in the church pews on Sunday and somehow believe that our showing up is like a free ticket to Heaven. Who can say that they’ve walked away from immorality? Not too long ago, I heard about people who were disgusted by the 1/2 time show of the 2020 Superbowl. How many of those disgusted people turned of their tv and forfeited watching the rest of the game because they don’t want to perpetuate that sort of indecent behavior? How many have seen their neighbor drive home a new car and wish for the same or feel angry that their neighbor could afford a new car and they can’t? Okay…enough! You get the point! How are we any different today than the Israelite people during the time of Moses?
The Israelites had the promise of a beautiful opulent land and forgiveness of sins and we have Jesus, the fulfillment of that promise. As Christians, we have faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that he’s the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, the Life. The only Way to eternal life and we are 100% correct when we realize this. But once we’ve received faith…what next? Faith becomes the catalyst for change, for us to desire to be obedient to Heavenly Father.
Hebrews 5: 8-10 8 Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. 9 After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, 10 and He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
When Jesus went to the cross for us, He fulfilled the plan of the Father since before the beginning. He knew how difficult it was going to be, but He did exactly what the Father asked of Him…obedience unto death. It was the only plan that could save mankind…it was the beginning of separating the sheep from the goats. In His last breath…Jesus said “It is finished”. The plan had been completely fulfilled and although he dreaded it to the point of sweating blood and asking the father to remove this cup from him (meaning the cup of death), He obeyed. In 3 out of 4 of the Gospels, we read the pleas that Jesus prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42
His Resurrection proved to us that He was telling the truth when He said He would rise from the dead.
The Way is the path that He walked and that we must follow to be his servant…Jesus says in John 25:12 that anyone who loves his life will lose it and anyone who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life.
The Truth is every WORD that proceeds from the pages of the Bible. Jesus is the WORD, therefore HE’S the Truth and we need to believe HIM and believe in HIM.
The Life in eternity is what we’ll gain if we have Faith and Obey Him.
The Israelite people should have been the most faithful of all, they saw the awesome miracles that God performed against the Egyptians, they saw the Red Sea part and walked through it on dry ground. They never went hungry as God fed them Manna from Heaven…but they still disobeyed…they gave up the promised land…obviously not choosing the path to Heaven. There are many people today who say that they believe in God, but they still persist in doing things their way instead of God’s way. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In the scriptures of Genesis 6–7 and Heb 11:7 we are told that Noah had such great faith. When God commanded him to build the ark, he built the ark just as God had told him to do. In obedience to God’s command, he kept his faith, and he and his whole family were saved.
John 2o:29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.” Belief and Faith are related; Belief is the agreement that this is the truth, but Faith not only acknowledges the truth, it inspires action, the desire to share the Gospel with others and to bring them into obedience to God’s will. Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. So when you’re at the cross and facing crossroads, when you’ve reached the point in your life when you need to make a decision that will effect your eternity…ponder your choices. Will you choose the journey to Heaven or the journey to Hell?