Holy Monday – Faith
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” — Luke 23:39-43
How often do we reserve our crying out to God for times of trouble? When everything seems to be going just as we would like, we take the credit, for it gives us a sense of control. And having the appearance of being in control allows us to skirt having faith that Someone else is actually in control.
At this moment on the cross we see two people on either side of Jesus, both at the point of realization that their sin has finally led to death and they are not in control. This is a moment that reveals two kinds of faith: faith in one’s self and faith in the One who can save, for each man shows what he believes in this time of crisis. We don’t know what they’ve done their whole lives but right now it matters not; what matters is their encounter with Jesus.
The same holds true for us, as what we’ve done, are doing, or will do, will not be able to separate us from the love of Christ. This is the reason He went in obedience to the Father and enduring death on our behalf! What matters is where our faith rests when we’re confronted with the end of ourselves, with a realization that either we have faith in our feeble and fickle selves, or we relinquish control and give it to the One who died for us.
Hence we get the opportunity to display our faith in one of two ways. The first is like the man who questioned who Jesus was and just wanted off the cross. There was no repentance, no ownership of his sin, no acknowledgement that it was faith in himself that put him there. In that brief encounter with Jesus, he still chose himself. The other man not only rebukes the first for not seeing an innocent man—Jesus—wrongly put to death, but fully shifts his faith from himself to the Son of Man when He asks Jesus to remember him. Of course, Jesus complies in His response.
But how much better is it to not only acknowledge our sin and the One who died for it, but to put our complete trust, faith, and hope in Him? The beauty of it is that we don’t have to wait until we are in crisis mode or at the end of ourselves, for Jesus is waiting patiently for our faith to be firmly rooted in Him so that we may experience true life.