Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27
At the Last Minute!

Luke 23:13-43             J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)  

Pilate declares Jesus’ innocence

13-16 Then Pilate summoned the chief priests, the officials and the people and addressed them in these words. “You have brought this man to me as a mischief-maker among the people, and I want you to realise that, after examining him in your presence, I have found nothing criminal about him, in spite of all your accusations. And neither has Herod, for he has sent him back to us. Obviously, then, he has done nothing to deserve the death penalty. I propose, therefore, to teach him a sharp lesson and let him go.”
17-21 But they all yelled as one man, “Take this man away! We want Barabbas set free!” (Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) But Pilate wanted to set Jesus free and he called out to them again, but they shouted back at him, “Crucify, crucify him!”
22 Then he spoke to them, for a third time, “What is his crime, then? I have found nothing in him that deserves execution; I am going to teach him a lesson and let him go.”
23 But they shouted him down, yelling their demand that he should be crucified.
24-25 Their shouting won the day, and Pilate pronounced the official decision that their request should be granted. He released the man for whom they asked, the man who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and surrendered Jesus to their demands.
26 And as they were marching him away, they caught hold of Simon, a native of Cyrene in Africa, who was on his way home from the fields, and put the cross on his back for him to carry behind Jesus.

On the way to the cross

27-31 A huge crowd of people followed him, including women who wrung their hands and wept for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not shed your tears for me, but for yourselves and for your children! For the days are coming when men will say, ‘Lucky are the women who are childless—the bodies which have never borne, and the breasts which have never given nourishment.’ Then men will begin ‘to say to the mountains, Fall on us! and to the hills, Cover us!’ For if this is what men do when the wood is green, what will they do when it is seasoned?”

Jesus is crucified with two criminals

32-34 Two criminals were also led out with him for execution, and when they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him with the criminals, one on either side of him. But Jesus himself was saying, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” Then they shared out his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood and stared while their rulers continued to scoff, saying, “He saved other people, let’s see him save himself, if he is really God’s Christ—his chosen!”
36-38 The soldiers also mocked him by coming up and presenting sour wine to him, saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, why not save yourself?” For there was a placard over his head which read, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 One of the criminals hanging there covered him with abuse, and said, “Aren’t you Christ? Why don’t you save yourself—and us?”
40-41 But the other one checked him with the words, “Aren’t you afraid of God even when you’re getting the same punishment as he is? And it’s fair enough for us, for we’ve only got what we deserve, but this man never did anything wrong in his life.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus answered, “I tell you truly, this day you will be with me in paradise.”
Last minute Savior.......
How precious to hear the words....."this day, you will be with me in paradise".
If one lives life to the bitter end avoiding God and all He is and does, and then at the very last moment......receives priceless and precious forgiveness and salvation..........How very wonderful
BUT if we receive that priceless gift of salvation while we still have time on this earth to reach others with the love of Christ HOW MUCH MORE WONDERFUL!
Don't wait until the last minute, my friends!
The joy of knowing the Lord Jesus, and letting Him have full access in your life is something you surely don't want to miss!
How much more wonderful to get to your last breath.....having shared his joy and love with everyone you could!
Who will you reach out to TODAY for Him?
It is a matter of life and death for each of us.
No reason to wait until the last minute!


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