LORD REMEMBER ME
St. Luke 23:39-43 is a section of the scripture that is full of revelations and at the same time fascinating. God does not do a thing without a witness. God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (Ephesians 1:11). God knows all things and is in perfect control of all things, visible and invisible. God came in the person of Jesus Christ, and knew he was to go to the cross. It was an absolute necessity. He had special stopping points to pick up those who are witnesses. He stopped to pick up the aged Simeon and Anna (St. Luke2:25-38); read of their encounter with the Lord and see if they were not witnesses. He stopped at the well to pick up the Samaritan woman (St. John 4:7-26) and her group. He picked up the man that was born blind (St. John 9:17-38).In St. John 11:1-45 the Lord stopped to pick up Lazarus and his company with the famous quote in verse 25 “I am the resurrection and the life.”
God made many stops to pick up his witnesses. Think about when he stopped to pick you up. There was one pick up that remained indelible, that was the last pick up made by a direct verbal invitation. On the cross Jesus Christ was crucified between two witnesses; one of them railed on the Lord asking him to save himself and them if he be the Christ, but the other one cautioned the first witness to watch his speech. In verse 39 the first witness a malefactor or thief, made a statement that showed the type of witness that he was, a) if thou be the Christ b) save thyself and c) save us. This witness was crucified along with Jesus Christ. This witness was a thief and was judged according to his deed; as confirmed by the second witness in verse 41.
If thou be the Christ; this was a statement of doubt not faith. Save thy self, is also a statement of doubt, lack of confidence and revelation: and the statement, ‘save us’ indicates seeking for help without faith but doubt. These statements showed clearly that this witness had no vision, revelation, hope and faith but doubt and disregard. He was a witness at the cross and will be a witness to those in hell. Can you imagine how close a man came to his God and did not realize or appreciate it. Can you recognize the hour of your visitation. The Lord visited this witness but he did not recognize the Lord and his hour of visitation came and passed away. Who is to blame?
The second witness was a different kind of a witness, very unique. This witness was a sinner who recognized his condition and confessed it. In St. Luke 23:41, he said, “and we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds.” This witness identified himself as a sinner, which is the first step towards a man coming to himself, and seeing his limitation and seeking for help. Also this witness although a sinner and a thief was predestinated to be at the cross to see Jesus the Christ. You do not know where and when you will meet with Jesus the Christ; or has he already passed by you and you were not a good witness and missed the hour of your visitation.
St. Luke 23:42
When the Holy Spirit starts moving to save a person, there is comfort to it. There were two thieves or robbers crucified with Jesus Christ, one on his left the other to his right. The first one railed on him, talking to the Lord without revelation and reverence. The hand of destiny was at work to separate the witnesses, bur remember that at this end of time the angels of God will do the separating. The second robber said in verse 40-41, said to the other thief, “dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?——–but this man hath done nothing amiss.” The first thief saw nothing good in Jesus and spoke to him anyhow, even mocked him. The gracious thing was that Jesus said not a word to this witness. But the second thief said to Jesus Christ in verse 42, “LORD REMEMBER ME WHEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM.”
Now let us examine the words of the second thief at the cross; he called Jesus Christ LORD. REMEMBER 1st Corinthians 12:3, ” no man can say that Jesus is the LORD, but by the Holy Ghost,” This thief receiving the reward of his deeds, facing death at the cross in a matter of hours reached out to God for hope and rest. His God and hope was before his eyes at the cross. He could have acted like the first thief or like many people would have done at the time. How can a man hanging on the cross, bleeding all over, badly scourged, with crown of thorns be important. But even the first thief knew Jesus saved, healed people but had no faith with his knowledge. Is it possible to consider a man on the cross like the case in hand to be Lord? Do you think you could have done better if you were faced with the same situation like the first thief?
Praise God the second thief was a brother from the foundation of the world, that the devil held captive until at the CROSS OF CHRIST. He called him LORD, and that was by the Holy Ghost; secondly he said REMEMBER ME (by the Holy Ghost he knew that there was life after the death on the cross- this is revelation); thirdly WHEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM. This thief at the cross with Jesus Christ had the same spirit with Abel and all true believers, to know the plan of God. Able knew that blood was needed in sacrifice to God Genesis 4:4, so also the thief on the cross appreciated the blood of Jesus at the cross and called him LORD. This second thief knew that there was a kingdom owned by Jesus Christ. Many of us today try to imagine the kingdom, but the second thief on the cross somehow not only knew but confessed and may be saw the kingdom from afar.
He was not worried about his present condition, but embraced the future kingdom by hope, faith and love through Christ, when he called him Lord. REMEMBER they were crucified with Jesus but he called Jesus LORD and knew he had a kingdom. In verse 43, Jesus said to the second thief, “verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” This made the second thief a saved person, a brother, co-heir, a faithful witness, first to arrive paradise with Jesus the Lord. From being rejected in the world to being with the Lord in paradise and being carried out from below to up above, Ephesians 4:1-10.
This new brother, did not come for bible study on repentance, was not baptized, did not tarry to receive the Holy Ghost, did not have an elder lay his hand on him to receive Jesus Christ. But he called him Lord by the Holy Ghost. When the Lord said to him, today shall thou be with me, where Adam, Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, the Prophets and other believers are-paradise; it was a confirmation that he was now saved. Who knows the kind of introduction he got from the Lord before those in paradise? The Lord promised not to be ashamed of us before the angels in heaven when he brings us home to glory.
This brother felt the agony of the cross because the Lord chose him before the foundation of the world to be his witness at the cross and he did not fail the Lord. Make sure you do not fail the Lord also, today may be the day the Lord wants you to be his witness in a particular situation. Among all groups of people including, prostitutes, prisoners, clergy, thieves etc God has witnesses. One thief derided the Lord and went to HELL and the other accepted the Lord, became a new creation, old things were passed away and all things became NEW and all the ordinances against him were washed away by the blood of JESUS CHRIST at the cross of Calvary.
When you see a person reaching out to the Lord in their low moment, even of sin and weakness; help them with the WORD. Do not look at their past but look at their future with the Lord. Imagine the thief on the cross, people may be judging or might have judged him by his past, BUT he made a future as he called Jesus Lord, by the Holy Ghost; AND HE SAID LORD REMEMBER ME.
By Douglas Amobi