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Luke 23

But the other rebuked him saying, “Do you not fear God?” Luke 23:40a

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to speak up for Jesus? Maybe it was with a co-worker, a group of friends or even family members? I have and it is not always an easy thing to do. Especially when you are the odd man out. In today’s chapter Jesus has been betrayed, falsely accused, wrongly convicted in a sham of a trial and now nailed to a criminal’s cross. The leaders in the crowd begin to mock him once again This time saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself; if He is the Christ of God, His chosen one!” (vs.35) The Roman soldiers were also taunting and teasing Him saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” But Jesus remained silent. He had His eye on the prize: the ultimate payment (aka: sacrificial atonement) payment for our sins. A brave criminal hanging on a cross next to Jesus rebukes the mockers, “Do you not fear God?” (vs.40) In that moment, the the criminal simply confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, the only way to heaven when He says, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (vs.42) In verse 43 Jesus replies and says to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I am reminded of another verse in Matthew 10:32 – So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge them before my Father who is in heaven. Verse 33 gives the flip side – But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

I pray that we are never guilty of the latter. Follow the example of the thief on the cross. Speak up for Jesus when people flippantly use His name as a cuss word or criticize His teachings and spiritual convictions in your life. Then on that day, when we join God’s heavenly army and are presented before the Father’s throne, we will hear our commander Jesus say, “I know this one. This soldier is with me!”