Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon about the thief on the cross, said, "Carefully note that the crucified thief was our Lord's last companion on earth. What sorry company our Lord selected when he was here! He did not consort with the religious Pharisees or the philosophic Sadducees, but he was known as "the friend of publicans and sinners." How I rejoice at this! It gives me assurance that he will not refuse to associate with me. When the Lord Jesus made a friend of me, he certainly did not make a choice which brought him credit."
Yesterday we reminded ourselves that the passion and elation we have inside us was given to us by God for God. I'm reminded about the countless Biblical examples of people who had physical reactions to Jesus, either to be near Him or because they had just been with Him. We've said it before, but He just moves us! But there was one person who didn't move a muscle.
The criminal had just been given Heaven. Every sin of his wasted years had been forgiven, his name had just been written in the Lamb's book of life, and soon the angels would be teaching him to sing. And yet, despite this gift of grace and mercy, He didn't run to embrace Him. He didn't leap for joy, lift his hands in praise or kneel in worship. Why? Well, he couldn't move. See, the nails were too deep, the pain was too great. If he could've climbed down that cross, he probably would've demonstrated physically what his heart had experienced spiritually.
Given to us by God for God. May we marvel at how low Jesus went to meet us; that he rode on a donkey and spent his last minute with sinners. And may we make much of any chance we get to do what Christ's last companion couldn't.
I think Spurgeon has today's discussion:
"Do you think he gained any honour when he made a friend of you? Has he ever gained anything by us? No, my brethren; if Jesus had not stooped very low, he would not have come to me; and if he did not seek the most unworthy, he might not have come to you. Yes, after all, our Lord did make a good choice when he saved you and me; for in us he has found abundant room for his mercy and grace."
- Jimmy Peña