The Assuring Christ :: Today shalt thou be with me in paradise


Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the second saying, when Jesus, tells the malefactor (criminal) who had acknowledged and addressed Jesus as Lord and King (Luke 23:42), that he will be with Jesus in paradise that day, we see Jesus Christ – the Assurer of his presence in paradise.

The prophet Isaiah had prophesied of the assuring Christ centuries earlier, when he recorded that Jesus would be numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). On the Cross, we see condemned like the other malefactors (Luke 23:39-40), this prophetic saying comes true.

Points to ponder:
Amidst this condemnation that Christ suffered, as a criminal, though he had committed no crime, Jesus speaks words of eternal life (John 6:68), words of assurance – a blessed assurance, that the one who is condemned in the eyes of man is not condemned in the eyes of God, because he who had recognized Jesus a good man, having done nothing wrong (Luke 23:41), realized and recognized that Jesus the good man was indeed God-man and that Jesus was Lord and King, who will come again in his kingdom (Luke 23:42). The criminal’s request was to be remembered for he said “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, but Christ Jesus responded in a manner of speaking, that there would be no need for remembrance, because that criminal was going to be with Christ that very day.

Notice how, Jesus did not condemn or remind him of the criminal’s sinful past, which by earthly standards deserved excruciating death. Instead, Jesus focused on the criminal’s saintly future – a future with Christ himself. This gives hope – hope to the vilest of sinners (of whom I am chief) and does not preclude anyone out of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The criminal died that day, yet he lived for whoever believes in Jesus, though he shall die, yet shall he live (John 11:25-26).

Also note, how the criminal’s request talks about “Jesus’ kingdom” not the kingdom of man. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth. Yet many a times, we in our human fallibilities and carnal desires seek to establish our own kingdoms. Like the criminal, we must ask for God’s kingdom to come and not our own. His will, not our will be done.

And to all, who like the criminal, recognize Jesus, not solely as a good man, but as God-man, the only man in whom the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:19), as the Lord and as a King whose kingdom will come, Jesus is the assuring Christ with whom we shall all be, in paradise.

Is Jesus The Assuring Christ to you? In other words, have you believed in him and accepted him as Lord and King of your life?

Luke 23:39-43 (KJV)
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

John 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

The Interceding Christ :: Father, Forgive them for they know not


Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the first saying, when Jesus, despite his anguish, prays for the forgiveness of those who had transgressed against him, by requesting his Father to forgive them for they did not know what they did, we see Jesus Christ – the Interceder – between God and man.

The prophet Isaiah had prophesied of the interceding Christ centuries earlier, when he recorded that Jesus’ soul would be poured out unto death and that he would be numbered with the transgressors, bearing the sin of many, and making intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). On the Cross, this prophetic saying comes true.

Points to ponder:
Not only is Jesus the interceding Christ on the Cross, but after the Cross, upon his death and victorious resurrection, he is still the interceding Christ in heaven, making intercession for man with God, as the One mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

And as followers of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we must also be intercessors – standing the gap (Ezekiel 22:30) – as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, beseeching man to be reconciled with God. (2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus Christ, the interceder gave us the model of intercession. Are you and I an intercessor for God?

Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Convicted as charged


The Bible states that we must be imitators of God as dearly beloved children (Ephesians 5:1) and counsels us to walk in love as Christ loved us and offer ourselves as a living sacrifice as did Christ Jesus (Ephesians 5:2). We must not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), so that we may prove what is good, acceptable and the perfect, will of God.

Points to ponder:
Someone questioned, “If we were to be arrested for being Christians, would there be enough evidence to convict us?”. Think about this. Are you/I imitators of God? In other words, will we be convicted as charged for being followers of Jesus Christ, proving that our lives are good, acceptable and perfect, according to the will of God?

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. 

Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Be a star or a moon?


Would you rather be a star or a moon? A star radiates light from itself. For example, the sun is a star and it emits light. A moon on the other hand reflects the light from another source, like another star. The moon of the earth radiates the light from the sun in our solar system.

Many a times, we try very hard to be a star that the world would see and admire, while all the time, we ought to be like the moon, radiating the radiance of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Dearly beloved, let us be imitators of Jesus Christ.

Points to ponder:
To be a star is akin to trying to be God.
To be a moon is akin to being an imitator of God.
Would your rather be a star or a moon?

Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV)
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us andgave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

To be a Christian means what?


British religious leader, William Penn (1644-1718)  is known to have quoted “To be like Christ is to be a Christian”. What does it mean to be like Christ? How can unholy and sinful man/woman be like a Holy and Sinless God?

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes that we ought to be imitators of Christ. But Apostle Paul with the divine wisdom of the Holy Spirit also penned the words “I am crucified with Christ, Nevertheless, it is no longer I who live, but Christ [Jesus] who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Apostle Paul recognized and counsels us that to be a Christian does not mean that we are trying to live like Christ did, but that, it is Christ living in us. The only way unholy and sinful man/woman can be like a Holy and Sinless God is to let Christ live in us, by believing in Him as the Only true God, who gave Himself for us and who takes away our sins, and the sin of the whole world.

Point(s) to Ponder:
Now upon realizing that to be a Christian is to let Christ live in us, would you deem yourself a Christian? I ask myself the same!

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Christian Verbs :: I is for Interceding


Jesus Christ is an intercessor.

Isaiah 53:12 affirms that Jesus interceded for sinners. It reads “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”  Hebrews 7:25 expresses that Jesus is able also to save all who come unto God by him, seeing He lives forever to make intercession for the repentant sinner on his/her road to reconciliation and recovery to God and no one can condemn (Romans 8:34).

Romans 8:27 indicates that Jesus intercedes for the saints. It reads “And he [Jesus] that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

As Christians (Christ-Ones), we ought to be imitators of Jesus Christ and if He intercedes for the sinner and for the saint, we ought to do likewise as well. Paul writes to his co-laborer Timothy, exhorting him to make intercession for all men. (1 Timothy 2:1).Jesus interceded for sinners, and He intercedes for saints and for all who come to God, just as we ought to. I is for interceding, a.k.a., for us to stand in the gap. If God was to offer that position of standing in the gap for Him, would He see you/I faithful in that task?

1 Timothy 2:1 (KJV)
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;