By Pastor Alex Ruelo
This is a troubled world. And more often than not, it leads you astray, making you believe in so many things that you are not supposed to believe. You need to be careful about what you believe in lest you lose your way.
When people do something wrong and something bad happens to them, majority will say they got what they deserved. Some people believe in karma and say that ‘what goes around comes around.” And sadly, many rejoice at this fact.
Luke 23:39-40 says, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?“ Two thieves, two different mentalities. One knew he got what he deserved while one was repentant about it. Have you seen people who did something wrong and just accept what is coming to them next.
Everybody has felt guilty at one point or another. You may feel guilty for eating so much after working out. Parents may feel guilty when their children get failing marks in school. The enemy reminds you of all the sins you committed all the time and you feel guilty about all the bad things you did. Guilt is a feeling people typically have after doing something wrong. Intentionally or accidentally. A person’s sense of guilt usually relates to their moral code. Guilt is not necessarily bad. Sometimes, it is even productive. Mal-adaptive guilt it negative guilt. When people realize they did something wrong, they feel ashamed. It affects you negatively and you cannot do anything anymore. Adaptive guilt is believed to be helpful. You realize your mistake, are repentant for your sin, and try to do better next time. Just like the thief on the cross.
Luke 23:32-33 says, “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.” The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was undeserved. He did not deserve to be crucified beside two criminals. Instead of Jesus wearing a golden crown and sitting on the throne during His reign on earth, He was crowned with thorns and nailed to the cross. Crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals during those times. It is the most expensive form of punishment. You had to pay for the whole shebang. You had to pay for the ones who will nail a person to the cross and the guards who will stand watch until death happens. That is why Herod and Pilate were adamant about crucifying Jesus. He was tossed back and forth between them and found Him innocent. But the crowd wanted Him crucified.
They deserved to be crucified. Luke 23:39 says, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” He was prideful even if he knew he committed so many crimes. That is the reason why he is being crucified in the first place. He himself knew he deserved to be hanging on the cross. But the other criminal, on the other hand, said, in Luke 23:40-42 “But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 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.” This other criminal knew Jesus did not do anything wrong. People are like that sometimes. They feel that they do not deserve God’s grace. That they deserve to be punished for their wrongdoings. The question is, “what do you think your punishment should be?”
Everyone deserves to go to hell. Many people might not accept that but nobody deserved the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross. Everybody deserves to be punished. The thief simply asked to be remembered. And Jesus assured Him of paradise. Where is justice there? The thief did not deserve that kind of forgiveness. That kind of guilt does not deserve that kind of verdict. It deserves punishment. But he was promised heaven on the cross. He did not earn his standing with God. He was not worthy to stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Nobody deserves to be blessed. Nobody deserves God’s forgiveness. Nobody deserves God’s mercy. But Jesus said, “You do not get what you deserve.”
Why? Because Jesus died for you. You do not deserve salvation. But this is grace. Amazing grace. You do not deserve to be blessed but God already blessed you. It’s grace. You do not deserve a nice life, but God will give you life abundant. It’s grace.Jesus did not deserve the cross. But He died so that you may enjoy the benefits of His perfect sacrifice.
Live the life Jesus died for. He wants you to be happy. He does not want you to experience hell. He died for you. Life the life you do not deserve. Do not waste Jesus’ death on the cross. He was only sacrificed once. There is no more sacrifice. Live life to the fullest. He came so you can have life abundant. He saved you so you can live.
In theology, numbers have meanings. The number 1 means unity or God. The number 4 is earth, 5 is grace, and 7 is perfection. 6 is weakness of man and the devil and 8 is new beginnings. But the number 3 is the number of wholeness or completion. You are a triune being, just like God. There were 3 people crucified. In the Old Testament, there were 3 patriarchal fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The tabernacle had 3 sections: the outer court, the inner court and the Holy of Holies. Angels cried out to God 3 times, ‘Holy! Holy1 Holy!” Daniel prayed 3 times a day. Jonah stayed in the belly of the big fish for 3 days. Apostle Paul was blinded for 3 days. In the book of Corinthians, he prayed 3 times for the thorn in his flesh to be removed from his body. He was also stranded in Malta for 3 months after being shipwrecked. When Jesus was born, He was visited by 3 wise men. He was also separated from His parents for 3 days. Jesus’ public ministry lasted for 3 years. Jesus was tempted 3 times in the dessert. He had 3 inner circle disciples, Peter, James and John. Peter was predicted deny Jesus 3 times. And even on Jesus’ death the Bible said He died on the 9th hour - that is 3pm. On the 3rd day, Jesus rose again. It is completed. It is finished.
Psalms 103:10-12 says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” He does not punish you even if you deserve it.
Ephesians 2:3-5 says, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” You are guilty by verdict. You deserve death. But because of God’s grace, you are saved. You did not get what you deserve. You deserve heaven because God loves you so much. You deserve forgiveness. You deserve mercy. You deserve grace