A couple years ago, I was waiting at the doctor’s office when 3 men in hand- and foot cuffs were ushered into the waiting room.
I assumed they had to be suspected of, or convicted of violent crime because they were under the surveillance of six prison guards. Two guards were assigned to each man, and they arrived separately.
As I sat there, thinking about the thieves that hung next to Jesus on the cross, I was reminded of the one thief’s cry for Salvation, his sincere repentance, and Jesus’s promise of redemption.
“One of the criminals who was suspended kept up a railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ (the Messiah)? Rescue Yourself and us [from death]! But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable]. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”Luke 23:39-43 AMPC
It’s so easy for us to judge those around us. These men did not look any different from the other people in the room. If weren’t for the fact that their clinking chains echoed through the hallways, they would probably not even have caught my attention.
As I mulled over the two thieve’s diverging reactions to Jesus and the fact that He was willingly crucified, I was overcome, anew, with a realization of the immensity of God’s Grace — the ministry of reconciliation!
“But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].”2 Corinthians 5:18 AMPC
People are not in need of powerful sermons or public protests. They don’t need “turn or burn” appeals.
That’s not the heart of the Gospel — which is the ministry of reconciliation, the declaration that the Kingdom of God has come near.
The world’s need is simply this — unconditional love.
Surely it’s not easy — especially when we feel like some are not deserving of love.
But, if one sinner repents because He recognized God for Whom He is, and received forgiveness, are we not to share this GOOD NEWS with every man?
The Gospel is the Good News of reconciliation for all men from every tribe and every tongue and every nation for all time.CG
The love with which you love shapes your legacy. So, share the Good News. Make disciples. Impact generations.