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The Truth About the Cross

Mar 28, 2009 05:36 AM EDT

Dana Chau, Campus Minister, NorCal Regional Director,

Asian American Christian Fellowship, Los Angeles

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43, NIV)

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said to one of the thieves who were also crucified, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus didn’t die between a good man and a bad man. He didn’t promise paradise to a good man. He promised paradise to the sinner who humbly asked.

Two important words we must not miss. The first word is “truth.” The promise of paradise to those who ask is based on truth. Not wish; not hearsay; not religion but truth. The second word is “me.” That is Jesus Christ. You could not be in paradise without Christ. The place would not be paradise without Christ.

A story is told of a thief who robbed John Wesley. While the thief walked away, Wesley shouted, “If you should someday come to your senses and know what you have done is wrong, turn to God for forgiveness through Jesus Christ.”

If we have the promise of Heaven, because we belong to Jesus, then every situation in our lives is an opportunity to bring others into Heaven with us. Jesus’ crucifixion was not a tragedy but a triumph of God and a triumph for mankind. Through Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, God demonstrated His power, provision and preeminence to rescue us from our sin and to restore us to Him.

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The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior