Lent Devotions: Day 43
Mockery or Mercy
Read: Luke 23:39-43
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. (v. 43)
There are two possible reactions to Jesus, and these reactions are personified in the two criminals crucified alongside of him. One mocked him, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” (v. 39) The other criminal simply asked for mercy.
I am aware that I have embodied both responses to Jesus in my life. One of the subtle ways I mock Jesus is to live my life on my own terms, trying to be the best student, Christian, son, and brother I can be. I try to impress God with my efforts. Yet I am painfully aware of how often I fall short of God’s glory. My only recourse is to stop trying to justify myself and ask Jesus to save me.
Neither criminal maintained his innocence in the face of death, and like them we are all sinners that deserve punishment. The scriptures are clear and our experience testifies that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The great news of the gospel is that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
So which do you choose? Mockery or mercy? Jesus suffered and was crucified on our behalf. He offers paradise to those who ask. –Jonathon VanderWall
Prayer: Thank you Lord for sending your Son. Help me to live every day in your salvation.