Today I am a little overwhelmed with life.
I have a very new born and now a family of 5. Something that I could never even imagine at one point in my life. I used to be basically homeless. I lived out of a suitcase for two years. And today…. Today I looked into my newborns eyes and am just thankful. Thankful that God has been with me every step of this crazy journey and has provided for me and my family.
Easter is here and so is the Facebook posts and friends inviting you to their churches events. We have a holiday on Friday and for one weekend a year it seems a lot of people participate in some sort of remembrance of Jesus.
This past Sunday, I brought up Luke 23:32-43 to the group. This passage tells about Jesus and 2 guys that were hung on crosses next to him. Two guys in the same amount of pain. 2 guys knowing they are not going to get out of this alive. Yet very different responses.
One of the men directly says, “If you are the Messiah, prove it! Save yourself and us!”
Jesus could have saved them. Gathered an army to rescue him and to fight. Overcome the romans and lead the Jews. But that is not his message. If the 1st man was paying attention to any of this he might have seen that. But instead, he wants God to prove he is real.
Sometimes God doesn't answer our prayers because he loves us enough to say no.
Maybe you don't like that, but its true. Sometimes God simply says no to what we want. Why? because if he ‘saves’ this 1st man, he just saves him from a momentary painful experience. But allows him to continue in the pattern of life he has become accustomed to. He is not an innocent man and did not get on the cross by mistake. So by saving him, God’s plan to save all mankind for forever gets put to the side.
I think we are often have the same attitude as this man. We want God to intervene on our behalf because we don't want to suffer, we don't trust his plan or timing and we think we know better. We don’t want to think about the future, because we want God to prove himself now. We don’t want to love and we don’t want our plans to be messed up. We want god to be on our side.
The 2nd man hanging on a cross next to Jesus is different. Just read,
“Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
The 2nd man addresses the 1st man by saying (my paraphrase) ‘Don’t you think we are getting just what we deserve? Isn't it time to reflect on what got you on a cross in the first place? Do you think chastising Jesus will make him better or more like God to you? Do you think that you should worry about what happens after this?”
I have found that it is when God says no to what we want, our true hearts are revealed.
In suffering, in dealing with the consequences of our actions, we want to be rescued. But the healing comes when we asses what got us in these situations in the first place. When we contemplate on our choices and the path they are leading us on. Maybe you are not on a cross or facing imminent death, but with the state of the world these days it is a good as time as any to start asking some difficult questions. It is a good time to think about what our actions are saying about us. It is a good time to think about our attitude with God and see if we trust him or have more faith in our plans.
“Jesus, please remember me when you come into your kingdom”
What this statement is, is a self realization. It is a confession and it is beautiful.
It is not some call to the front of a church.
It is not a 10 step program to a better life.
It is an understanding about life.
It is an understanding of how Jesus did nothing wrong.
It is an understanding that Jesus will bring a kingdom.
It is statement that reveals this man’s honest confession that he has made mistakes and wants to life differently.
It is genuine.
And it saved him.
Jesus knows our hearts and responds to it. He knows when the exact moment happens when we begin to trust his plan rather then ours.
For this 2nd man on the cross, it was in a statement of faith and understanding.
For us today it is a daily choice to live a life of love even when the people I am called to love hate me. Because that is the love of God. We didn't even know him or of him, but he died for us.
I realize that may sound crazy to some, but for me, I have taken stock of my life and have seen God transform me and my life. I have come to the realization that He love me and it changed my life in all areas.
I now try to live a life that is loving and not just to the people who love me.
I try to be an example of love not to get God to like me more, but out of a response to the love he has given me. God is not to interested in our religion, he is interested in our attitude and response to love.
So, are we asking god to come down and rescue us?
Or are we asking him to remember us, be with us and help us love like him?
… remember me Jesus….
Take some time as a family and individually this weekend to think about what kind of love it takes to do what jesus did. Maybe you think its crazy or maybe you think its revolutionary. Either way, you have to be thinking something about this historical event. Take time, to stop the busyness and think about life and love. Think about the journey you are on and if God has a part to play in yours.
This Sunday, Story is having a small breakfast and easter egg hunt outside Charles Bowman School @ 10:30am. You are welcome to come, eat, hang out and have a great time connecting with neighbours. There is not catch, no one will pressure you or throw a bible I promise!
the story continues…