Friday 10th April 2020

Great meeting last night on WhatsApp and wonderful news about Boris. God answers prayer. My dear brothers and sisters; today is one of the most powerful, passion-filled, personal days in the whole year. Good Friday is the day to meditate on and come to the cross of Christ. You have been reading about it all week. This is your day to spend at the cross. Stand at the foot of the cross in repentance and turn from all sinful acts, attitudes and emotions today. Stand at the foot of the cross and receive his healing of pain and sickness. Stand at the foot of the cross and see the enemy disarmed. Stand at the foot of the cross and see his immense love for you. This is the day of the cross. Let’s make it count.

What simple word will God bring to you and me today? Let’s read it:

Luke 23:39-43

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

There are 3 crosses here on Golgotha hill. Each man is dying in agony. Jesus has 2 criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Both are guilty and receiving their punishment. One rails at him in anger, hurling more abuse at Jesus. But the other rebukes him. He recognises he is paying the price for his crimes but sees Jesus as innocent. He turns to Jesus, calling him ‘Lord’ and says, ‘Remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He sees Jesus as Lord and king and, sees himself as a sinner and asks for mercy. This is the sinner’s prayer. Jesus, crushed under agony, sin and judgment, responds with love and compassion. He says; ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ He promises heaven and glory. He assures him of salvation even in his last breath.

What compassion. What love. What hope. Jesus reaches out to a sinner from the cross. He shares the gospel at the very end. And what about the criminal? Well, he is guilty; condemned and dying. His whole life may have been black and terrible. He may have done awful deeds but in the last seconds he is saved.

There is always a chance for salvation. Jesus did not see his crimes. He did not see his history. He did not see his evil life. He saw his heart and offered life.

There is a word that comes from Jesus to us today, from the cross itself. It is actually the commission of the gospel. He says: ‘No matter how much you are suffering personally, always have ears to hear someone’s cry and offer them the glorious gospel.’ He says: ‘No matter how evil the person seems, how terrible their history, how awful their deeds, never judge. It is not too late for them. Always have ears to hear their cry and offer them the glorious gospel. Can you hear the heart of Jesus? Don’t judge! Don’t turn away! You were all criminals and sinners. But someone heard your cry one day. Reach out from your cross. See their heart. Share the good news. ‘Today you can be saved.’ Take the risk. Take the step. Don’t let any moment slip away from you. There is a world of people heading for judgement. You have the words of eternal life. Keep your heart open and listen for the cry.

Let’s pray: ‘Lord Jesus I ask you to soften my heart. Give me your heart for the lost, the unlovely, the sinner. Please give me the grace to not judge but to listen. And then give me the boldness to share the gospel. It is never too late.’

Today you will be with me in Paradise.

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Please remember to step outside your door today at 3.00pm the time Jesus died and pray for your street, town, nation. Join with 1000s of Christians across the nation.

God bless you,

Pastor Steve.

 

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