“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Three crosses. Three men condemned to die. Jesus is in the middle, the “star” attraction, with criminals on either side. In this way Jesus is portrayed as the king of criminals. As Isaiah had prophesied, Jesus was “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).
This also means that Jesus came to be identified with us. Are we not all guilty? In a sense, the men on either side of Jesus represented the whole human race. All people have taken up arms and rebelled against the Lord and his anointed. We all deserve punishment.
Jesus on the cross evoked two kinds of responses. One says, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” The other says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The first is an insult that implies, “If you are the Christ—but I really don’t believe you are—what are you doing here?” This was not a prayer but a curse.
The words of the second criminal, however—“Jesus, remember me …”—are a believer’s prayer. This man confessed that Jesus truly was a king. He also confessed that Jesus and his kingdom were bigger than death. In response, Jesus promised him new life in paradise.
Death stares us all in the face. And our record is not clean. We need a Savior.
Have you asked Jesus to remember you?
Lord, we confess our sin and guilt. We pray for your forgiveness. We pray that you will remember us now that you are in your kingdom. For your name’s sake, Amen.
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