32 Two other men were also led out with Jesus to be killed. Both of them had broken the law. 33 The soldiers brought them to the place called the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood there watching. The rulers even made fun of Jesus. They said, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him. They offered him wine vinegar. 37 They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 A written sign had been placed above him. It read, this is the king of the jews. 39 One of the criminals hanging there made fun of Jesus. He said, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself! Save us!” 40 But the other criminal scolded him. “Don’t you have any respect for God?” he said. “Remember, you are under the same sentence of death. 41 We are being punished fairly. We are getting just what our actions call for. But this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Our picture of the right outcome in any situation is not always God’s picture. How amazing is His love for us that He could watch Jesus going through this. Jesus too – He could have gotten down from the cross but He chose to stick it out to save each and every one of us.
So often we have people around us saying – if God is real then this is how the situation should turn out – when it doesn’t they ask how we can continue to believe in God. God is so much bigger than just making things turn out well – how we want them too. His picture has so much more to it than we can imagine.
I want a BIG God who has more than just my comfort and happiness in mind. I want a God who does the hard things because they are the right things. I want a God that stands up for the oppressed, who brings mercy, grace, love and peace to life, who loves each of us so much that He did the most difficult thing so that we could still be His friends.
Praise Him – that is who we have.
Written by Therese Manning