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Undeserved Favor

Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

I often reflect on the cross. I think it's good to remember what it means for us every day, not just around Good Friday.

Jesus was born to "save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21) To accomplish this He had to pay the penalty for sin. "the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)

In Jesus' day, criminals were put to death on a cross for all to see their humiliation. Though Jesus did not sin and was not guilty of any crime, the cross would be His form of execution to pay for our forgiveness. Out of God's great love for His children, He sent Jesus to redeem them.

The first sinner to be saved and set free was a thief.

Jesus hung, bleeding and suffocating, in excruciating pain, His hands and feet nailed to a cross...between two thieves.

Imagine that, a thief being sentenced to death. Sin is serious.

One thief cursed Jesus.

The other thief acknowledged that he was deserving of punishment for his crimes and that Jesus was innocent. The thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom and Jesus granted his request.

Moments later, a condemned sinner became a forgiven and redeemed saint and went into paradise with Jesus because the Lamb of God paid his way. 

This thief never went to church, never tithed, never went on a missions trip, and never studied the Bible. He was never baptized, never took communion, never said the “sinners prayer“ or recited the “Apostles Creed," and he didn’t know any church doctrine. 

He never did anything, but sin, until he was convicted of his sin and confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. 

It's incredibly unfair. 

Jesus, a perfectly sinless, God-man hung humiliated and disfigured on a cross, bearing all of this man’s sin, guilt, and shame. And yours and mine too, if we believe in Jesus. 

It is equally unfair that you and I get to spend eternity with Jesus. Maybe you didn't steal, cheat, or kill, but you've sinned. Everyone has sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23)

We don’t deserve paradise. We deserve Christ's cross.

But God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to take our place and Jesus went willingly. Now we don't get what we deserve. We get what we don't deserve - mercy and freedom in paradise forever.  

The Bible says, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, (Jesus) will be saved. 

(Romans 10:13)

Have you called on Jesus?

You can't earn His love and salvation. Stop trying.

Look to Jesus and be saved. (Isaiah 45:22)

Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is life. Matthew 11:28–30

Notice the order of words in what Jesus says.

Come to Him...and He will give you rest. By simply turning to Jesus, and surrendering our life into His care we have rest because He is our rest.

Then He says, take His yoke, meaning join with Him in His work, and in doing so learn from Him. Learn His gentle and humble way of living, working, and loving, and you will find even more rest for your soul because you're not striving anymore. You're walking in step with your Lord.

Turn to Jesus. Trust Him with your life and death, and one day you too will be with Him in paradise.

Mara Petro

Living for Jesus

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