Day 25 – Soldiers obey orders
Bible reading: Luke 23:32–46
The soldiers then picked up Jesus' clothes for themselves. They played a game to decide who would receive each piece of his clothes.
The soldiers did their awful job and nailed two murderers to crosses, with Jesus on a third one between them. Instead of curses and struggles, Jesus amazingly asked his heavenly Father to forgive his torturers. Despite people’s bitter scorning around the base of the cross, a magnificent truth became obvious. He saved others but he could not save himself. You see, he was taking the place of all of us, taking responsibility for all the evil in the world.
He willingly let the whole penalty fall on him so that we should never have to suffer it. That is the true meaning of his death on the cross. And we can have one of two reactions to that.
Scorn or remember
We can scorn and reject him, as one of the murderers did. Or we can say, with the other one, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.’ Amazing that this dying murderer turned to the person bleeding next to him and asked to be remembered! Amazing that he believed Jesus had a kingdom to go to after his death! Amazing that he trusted he would be welcome!
Immediately, the dying Saviour tells him, ‘Today you will be with me in God’s garden.’ (That’s the meaning of ‘paradise’.) That was good news. Good news that he would die that day and not delay for two or three days. Good news that he would be with Jesus. Good news that, wicked though he was, all he had to do was to trust Jesus. Faith, trust in Jesus, would gain him acceptance.
Starting a good relationship again
He had lived an evil life. He had never been to worship or been baptized, but trust in the Saviour would put him (and us) in a good relationship with God.