Friday, April 24, 2009

The Two Criminals

As we continued our "Perspectives" series this week we took a look at the two criminals that Jesus hung on the cross between.  We don't know much about the two from the Biblical accounts, but we do know that they were criminals.  If you look at different translations at the two accounts they are mentioned you will see them called criminals, thieves, robbers, revolutionaries, and malefactors.  They are briefly mentioned in Matthew 27:38 and 44 but we see them interact with Jesus when we look at the account in Luke 23:32-43 and primarily verses 39-43.

I labeled the two criminals as "Criminal #1" who insulted Jesus and "Criminal #2" who understood who Jesus truly is.  If you think about it each one of us fall into the category of either Criminal #1 or #2.  We looked at each and how we are just like them today.

Criminal #1 (verse 39)
-Disrespected Jesus and in turn disrespected God
-He hurled insults, scoffed, made fun of Jesus, etc.
-He Questioned Jesus' Sovereignty/Divinity- "So you're the Messiah, are you?"
-Tested Jesus- "Prove it by saving yourself"
-Was selfish and mainly concerned with himself
-Told Jesus to save him
-Thought he deserved being saved, or that Jesus owed him
How We are Like Criminal #1
-We Disrespect God
     -Just like we say "Love God, Love People"- If we love the Lord with all our hearts then we will in turn have a greater love 
       for people.  We are commanded to do this.  Well if you take the flipside when you "Disrespect People you in turn Disrespect 
       God".  Whether it be a friend, parent, teacher, boss, pastor, leader, etc. when you disrespect that person you are in turn 
       disrespecting God.
-We Questions God's Sovereignty/Divinity/Power when we Doubt
-We Test God
-We're Selfish and Concerned With Ourself just like Criminal #1.  We think that people, and sometimes even God owe us.  We 
   think they owe it to us to make us happy, however that may be.  The thing is, nobody owes you anything.

Criminal #2 (verses 40-43)
-Rebuked the Other Criminal (verse 40)
-He Feared God
-Realized he was a sinner and deserved death (verse 41)
-He knew who Jesus was and that he hadn't done anything wrong
-Asked Jesus to remember him and was saved
How Can We Be Like Criminal #2
-Stand Up Against Sin
-Fear and Respect God
-Realize our Sin and That We Deserve Death- And our need for a Savior!

We can be saved and go to church and still have the same qualities as Criminal #1.  I challenge you to ask God to reveal to you which one you are more like: the one who feared and respected God -or- the one who was disrespectful and selfish.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Great lesson. It's almost the exact same thing I taught the week before Easter :)