November 25, 2001

Luke 23:33-43

When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified [Jesus], along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left.

Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."

Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, "He saved others. Let's see him save himself! The Messiah of God -- Ha! The Chosen -- Ha!"

The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine: "So you're King of the Jews! Save yourself!"

Printed over him was a sign: This is the King of the Jews.

One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: "Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!"

But the other one made him shut up: "Have you no fear of God? You're getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him -- he did nothing to deserve this."

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom."

He said, "Don't worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise."

<The Message >


1. Indeed! "Some Messiah you are!"

What image of Messiah are you carrying around with you. Does it have to do with immortality? With security? With heaven?

What if it is as simple as - Forgiveness is Paradise. Can you live with that?

2. The request was simple. "Remember me."

What would it mean to be remembered? It is not "intervene and change everything." It is not remember only the good stuff or some balance slightly tilted to the good. It is not some slight of hand to turn remembrance into begging for a better result than might otherwise be expected.

To be remembered is everything. To be remembered is to already belong. To be remembered is precious. Can you live with only being remembered? Can you live with knowing that everything is remembered, not just you as a special case? If so, is this not a foretastes of paradise?

3. Isn't it interesting how we, like the criminal, are interested in fairness, in deservedness. What, after all, do you deserve? With life being a gift, where does deservedness come in? To be able to live without this category is to live as Jesus, in close communion with the Gifter of Life. Jesus helps us simply live, without all the overhead of deserving it.

Homepage | Sermon Prep