Having just come through Easter, we bask in the glow of grace. We think about the thief on the cross and the grace extended to him in the last hours ofhis life through the atonement Jesus accomplished.
At that juncture of his life, all the thief could do was to fall into the arms of God’s mercy – just like you and me.
“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” Luke 23:41,42. Having just come through Easter, we bask in the glow of grace. We think about the thief on the cross and the grace extended to him in the last hours of his life through the atonement Jesus accomplished.
The concept of atonement was illustrated for the Israelites on the annual Day of Atonement(Leviticus 16). Two goats were brought before the people: one was sacrificed, and the high priest laid his hands on the second one, the scapegoat, and confessed all the sins of the nation – ‘transferring’ the shame and guilt of the people to the goat. The animal was then led away to die in the wilderness as a sin bearer.
In this ritual was the prefiguring of what Jesus Christ did – He is our scapegoat. He was taken outside of the city and on him was laid the shame and guilt of all people – including you, me, and the thief beside Him. At that juncture of his life, all the thief could do was to fall into the arms of God’s mercy – just like you and me. This is the love story of God that we glory in at Easter!
This is the weird math of grace – both the person who walks with Christ all their life AND the person who appeals to Him hanging on a cross have their sins laid on Him – our shame and guilt are taken away. Not because we earned it, for God doesn’t give wages, but because He is merciful – it is a gift! John reminds us in I John 4:19 that we love Him because He first loved us!
A week Saturday (April 22) is our Encounter the Holy Spirit day with Jeremy and Carmen Kinninburgh. Plan to join us for the day and set the table for a fresh encounter with God! Check the church website for all the details.
Pastor Leon Throness