He deserved to hang there!
He deserved to hear the crowd taunting him and asking if he was "comfortable". He deserved to be cursed and he deserved to receive the abuse that led him to this dismal exit from this life. Don't pity him, because by his own admission he made the choices neccessary to bring him to this end. Some might have called it his "destiny", but i disagree. He made his bed, now he needs to lie in it.
He hung there in complete agony and heard the insults from the crowd about the "Messiah" and "so-called Savior" and he knew deep down in his heart that he had chose this death when he first made the choice that started him on this calvary road.
I can see him struggling to adjust his body against gravity's pull and as he gasped he turned his head just enough to bring into focus the one who was out of place. It was the man who hung next to him that puzzled him. He looked into the swollen eyes of Jesus and made his final plea in a hoarse and whispered prayer. "remember me...".
We are left to speculate so much about the thief of the cross that, in his final breaths, made the show stopping request of the Savior. I have heard many sermons about the " good thief" and so have you, but i just want to drop a thought into your foxhole that was dropped into mine this week.
Look at this request for just a minute, and then look at the answer.
"And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left." ~Luke 23:32-33
"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." ~Luke 23:38-42
Notice the request, then please take note of the response.
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." ~Luke 23:43
Why did Jesus not offer the kingdom and instead tell him he would be with Him in paradise?
It was too late for the man to see the kingdom of God. That was something that Jesus had brought with Him. That is what we now have the ability to take advantage of or pass up on.
How many people will reach their last breath and desire to see something that they could have had while they had thier breath? God's kingdom is something that Jesus was speaking about His entire ministry. His Kingdom is now!
When was the last time you asked God to manifest His kingdom in any circumstance, conversation, or area of life? It is more than just an expression that He used when He taught.
If the kingdom of God was something that Jesus came to introduce us to here on earth, why would we want to live life to it's finality and miss out on it?
At leat sixty eight times the phrase "Kingdom of God" is mentioned in the New Testament. Fifty three of those mentions were given by Jesus himself.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
There are some who say that the kingdom of God is just another name for Heaven. That sounds nice, but it goes against scripture to say that. Jesus reffered to this Kingdom of God as something you enter into through the Spirit.
"And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question." ~Mark 12:34
"And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent." ~Luke 4:43
"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God."~Luke 6:20
If you are a child of the King then you need to recognize that God is your Father!!! Ask Him to open your eyes to the kingdom that you were born again into, and see it for what He made it to be. YOURS!
"And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." Luke 9:2
"And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing." ~Luke 9:11
"But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God." Luke 9:27
"Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." ~Luke 9:60
"and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." ~Luke 10:9
"Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
"But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." ~Luke 11:20
"But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."
He hung there beside the thief who missed the kingdom in order to extend to those who are willing to see it, the opportunity to live in and experience to the fullest His kingdom!
How do i do that?
You ask Him to make His kingdom manifest in your life!
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." ~John 3:5
Your passport to the kingdom is provided, you just need to step into it. Don't get to the end and miss out on what He provided to you from Calvary. I believe that so many Christians will get to heaven and find out that they completely missed His kingdom. Read what Jesus said about the Kingdom and ask the Holy Spirit to teach or even re-teach you about the reality of His kingdom being here right now!
In the end, the thief left without taking the one thing he should have. What will our choice be?
Climbing with you,