29 Mar 2024

From Mockery to Mercy [Luke 23:32-43]
  • Topic: Bible, Call, Cross, Crucified, God, Jesus, Jewish, Life, Messiah, Mocking, People, SIN, Sinner, Thief


At the hill of Calvary where Jesus faced crucifixion, two criminals were also condemned to die alongside Him. While one scorned and ridiculed Jesus, the other acknowledged his own wrongdoing and repented. This compelling story emphasizes Jesus' readiness to extend grace and forgiveness to those who humbly admit their sins, repent and turn to Him, regardless of their past deeds. Today, just as then, forgiveness is available to all who turn to Jesus in faith.

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Sermon Transcript

Just a short introduction of myself again, this is my family, my beloved wife, and my little boy, Elliot, who is going to turn 18 months. And there's a recurring joke that every time when I come to the main service, when I come to preach, my season of life changes, my stage of life change. The first time I came, I was a single man. The second time I came here, I was attached, then I got engaged, then I got married, then I have a kid. And today I want to announce to you that I'm going to have another kid, a baby girl, that's going to come in late May or early June. So do keep my family in prayer. Hopefully the next time I come. I don't think I'll be a grandparent, and I don't think I have time to have a third kid, but nevertheless, to keep my family in prayer.

You know, today we want to look at the Bible. Today is Good Friday period, right? Where we want to look at the Bible and we want to look at the cross, where not just about the life of Jesus, we want to look through the lens of a thief that repented and came to faith because of what Jesus Christ have done on the cross. That's where he began to understand who Jesus was, who this Messiah was, and he put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. His life was changed. But interestingly, this thief on the cross beside Jesus, right at the start, both of the thieves were mocking Jesus. But at the end of the day, before he died, he was hung on the cross, the thief as well, he made a decision to follow Jesus and he made a decision to cry out for mercy and asked Jesus to come and save him. One that was mocking Jesus, to one that was asking for mercy. And that's what we want to hear from today's story. Through the lens of the thief, what happened? How did he come to faith, and it's a similar story of how you and I came to faith as well.

But before that Good Friday, before the Friday where Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin, on the very night, the night before, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, He was beaten up by the Jewish leaders, slapped on the face, they spit at Jesus, accused Him for something, they accused Him to be the Messiah and they accused Him and He was just mocked by the Jewish leaders. And the Jewish leaders have been plotting the death of Jesus Christ for very long, they wanted to kill Jesus, but they could not do that. So, they sent Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the governing body during the period to sentence Jesus to death. There, Jesus was at the hands of Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate had to set someone free. But either Barrabas, a murderer, an evil doer, a criminal, and he asked the crowd, the Jewish leaders and the people there, who will you want to set free? Barrabas, the guy that you are hated, the guy that murdered people or this innocent man, Jesus? Who will you want to set free? And then everyone cried out, crucify Him, crucify Him, crucify Jesus. And they just wanted the death of Jesus Christ. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate decided, you know what, in order to please the crowd, not to create a riot, he set Barrabas free, and sent Jesus to the cross. And there Jesus was scourged, there Jesus was beaten, there Jesus was being tortured by the Roman soldiers, by the cats of nine tails, His flesh was pull out, the Bible tells us His face was more marred than any man, disfigured. And these are just imagery of a guy of the Passion of Christ that created these and these pictures are nothing as compared to what Jesus had gone through 2000 over years ago. There they mocked Jesus, there Jesus was being led to the cross, there Jesus had a crown of thorns, and a purple robe around him to mock him as the king. He's not really the king. He's the one that's going to be crucified on the cross, and there Jesus, His hands and His feet was nailed on the cross, and He hung there to die for the sins of the whole wide world.

You see this is the story of Good Friday, how Jesus came to die for your sins and my sin. And when He was hanging on the cross, there were two thieves beside him. One of the thieves repented, the other thief continues to mock Jesus. You see, the Bible tells us, “Two others, who were criminals were led away to be put to death” (Luke 23:32), to be crucified with Jesus. These are evil doers. These are people that deserve that capital punishment, that crucifixion. These are people that probably rebelled against the authority, either murderer or thief. And they just are wicked people, destroying the life of people. And they as compared to Jesus, the innocent man, in the middle of the cross, in the middle of the three crosses, there was Jesus being innocent. “And when they came to a place that's called The Skull or Calvary, and there they crucified Jesus and the criminals, one on the left, and one on the right” (Luke 23:33). That crucifixion took place outside of the city of the Roman Empire, outside of the city. It is a place where there will be lots of people that were going out and in to the city, it is a place where they will draw most crowd, it is a place where Jesus and the people that will be going to be crucified, they will be full of shame. This is the place to deter people from committing such crime. And there, this is the scene that I want to paint to you guys. And I want to bring you through the lens of one of the thieves that repented. 

  1. 1. The Contempt of the crowd

This thief saw the contempt of the crowd. One of the thieves saw the contempt of the crowd, one of the thieves saw how the people mock Jesus, ridiculing Jesus, scoff at Jesus. That thief on the cross, saw the ruler scoff at him. And the thief on the cross saw that “the rulers was scoffing at him” (Luke 23:35). He hears the word of the rulers, the Jewish leaders, “He saved others, let Him save himself” (Luke 23:35), this Jesus, whom you call Messiah, He can save others, He can heal the sick, He can raise the dead, He can cause the blind to see, He has done many, many miracles. He has saved so many people so called, but He can't even save Himself. They were mocking Jesus. He saw that in the lens of the thief, he saw “the soldiers mocking Him” (Luke 23:36), offering sour wine to prolong His death. “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself” (Luke 23:37), you so called King, and they mock and they laugh at Jesus. And there was an inscription over Him, “This is the king of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), trying to mock Jesus. And the passersby who were passing through the main gates of Jerusalem of the city then and they saw Jesus and the thieves. And they were just mocking Him, “derailing him, wagging their heads” (Mark 15:29) and say, this people, this Jesus whom in the past he says, “You would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross” (Mark 15:29-30), and they were mocking Jesus. And not just the crowd, the very thieves that were hanging on the cross together with Jesus, both of them, the Bible tells us in Matthew and Mark, they were also at the same time mocking Jesus, reviling him. “And those who were crucified with him also reviled him” (Mark 15:32).

So, you see, everyone was mocking Jesus. Have you ever wonder why? Because they have a wrong expectation of Jesus. Their kind of Messiah, the Savior is not the kind that Jesus portray. For the Jewish leaders, they thought that the Messiah will come and rule and reign. He will come and establish an earthly kingdom for them, and all the Jewish people will rule and reign with Christ. But Jesus did not come and rule and reign during then. This Jesus was the suffering King, this Jesus was beaten, they cannot accept, they cannot acknowledge that this is the Messiah, because they have a wrong understanding of who the Messiah is. The passerby were just mocking him because it was part of their culture then, they do not know who Jesus is, so they join in and mock Jesus, even the thief was mocking Jesus. I don't know about you. But do you know who the Messiah is? Do you know who Jesus is in your life?

I remember before I came to faith, I become a Christian, I was one that was like the thief on the cross. I was once like the rulers and the soldiers and the passerby. I was mocking Jesus, I was laughing at those Christians, you know, I strongly believe before I was a Christian, I laugh at this Christian. It's like, why, why do these Christians have to cling on to false hope to give them some shiok feelings? Why do these Christians have to go to church every Sunday to worship this person to whom they cannot even see, and they will give money and they will do a lot of things for this person whom I don't even believe exists. I was mocking, I was ridiculing, I was laughing at my Christian friends. Maybe that is you this morning. That was you maybe 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 over years ago. Maybe you were the one that was mocking Jesus because you don't understand who Jesus is. So through the lens of the thief, they don’t understand who Jesus was right? They saw the contempt of the crowd.

  1. 2. The Compassion of Jesus

But at the very same time, that thief saw the compassion of Jesus. He saw how Jesus responded to their mockery. He saw how Jesus choose to say certain things. He saw how Jesus treated them. He hears the words of Jesus on the cross. He saw the compassion of Jesus. And this is what he heard. He heard Jesus replying to the people and praying to the Father, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The very thief on the cross was mocking Jesus, and hear how Jesus responded to them, he realized that this Jesus is different. This Jesus has the power to ask the Father to forgive sin, high chance this thief is probably a Jew. And as a Jew, they understood that no one can forgive sin, except God Himself. And he began to comprehend who is this Jesus, that he is asking the Father to forgive them for their sins, for their wrongdoings? The Roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders, they plotted against Jesus. They beat, scourged, ridicule, slapped, spat on, do all kinds of evil things to Jesus and Jesus said this, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). That is where in the lens of the thief, he began to comprehend slightly more who this so-called Messiah is. He began to comprehend that love of Jesus Christ, to those who wronged Him. He began to realize that this Jesus have a certain authority that no one ever had. He began to realize that this Messiah, whom they have been, for the Jewish people, they have been looking forward to this Messiah. And maybe this Jesus is the Messiah that they all have been looking forward to. He saw the compassion of Jesus Christ.

I don't know about you. But if you are mocked, if you are ridiculed, if you are being misunderstood by your bosses, by your friends, by your loved ones, and if you are being, not just in words, being misunderstood, you are beaten. And what will you do? Most of the time, how you will respond to people that wronged us is we will fight back, we will do whatever we can to get back to them. But that's not the response of Jesus, Jesus chose to ask the Father to forgive them. There at the cross, the thief began to comprehend who this Jesus is.

  1. 3. The Conversion of the thief

Then we see the conversion of this thief. That's where we see everything from the thief who was mocking Jesus to one who began to understand who this Jesus is, then that is where he has this conversion. That's where he cried out for mercy. From one who mock, to one who ask Jesus for mercy. One of the thieves who was on the cross, railed at Jesus, “Are you not the Christ?”, the chosen one, aren’t you the one that is going to come and save us? “Save yourself and us” (Luke 23:39). The other thief was so concerned about here and now. But the other thief, that thief that repented, “rebuked” this other thief (Luke 23:40-41). What changed? Remember, these two thieves were mocking Jesus at the start, and now at the end, near the end, this thief has a change of heart. This thief has a change of perspective, this thief has a change in understanding of who Jesus is. And he began to rebuke that very guy beside Jesus. He said, “Do you not fear God, since you're under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds” (Luke 23:41a). We deserve it because we are evil doers. But this man has done nothing wrong. And we want to look at how this thief came to faith. How this thief come to ask Jesus for mercy.

3a. Realize

First, this thief realized something, this thief realized that he was a sinner, and this sinner that he was, he's going to face some form of condemnation. He rebuked the thief saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same condemnation?” (Luke 23:40). In a very loose way, he's saying to the other thief, do you not fear God whom you are not just going to die, being crucified. You're going to face God one day, after you die, you're going to face God, don’t you fear God? Don't you fear what he can do to your soul? That thief, the repentant thief, realized that they're not just going to be sentenced to death by crucifixion, this thief understood something deeper, where their souls will be going after they die. “Do you not fear God, since you're under the same condemnation?” (Luke 23:40). In a paraphrase way, “Look, we are getting exactly what we deserve. Don't you have a fear of what's going to happen to you when we face God's judgment when we die?” Don't you realize that? There he realized that he was a sinner, and there he realized that that sin, the sin that he has ever committed ever in his life, all the sins that he have ever committed in his life is going to have a consequence. There he realized that he was a sinner.

3b. Recognize

And not just he realized that he was a sinner, he recognized something. He recognized that this Jesus is innocent. He recognized that this Jesus have done nothing wrong. He recognized that Jesus was perfect, was sinless. All the accusation that people have done to him. It's all fake news. There he realized that Jesus was innocent. And there he realized that Jesus was not just innocent, Jesus, probably, high chance, is that coming messiah that's going to come and take the sins of the world. So you see for the Jewish people, they have been taught, through the Passover lamb, through all the laws in the Bible, all the festivals in the Bible. And if you have been in Pastor Jason’s sermons in the last few weeks, through the book of Leviticus, you will realize that the Jewish people have to go through a lot of rituals and duties and festivals, for us to remember that this is just a foreshadow of Christ, the foreshadow of the Messiah who is going to come. And there on that cross, this thief realized that probably this Jesus that was hung beside him is that Messiah that's going to come and “take the sins of the world” (John 1:29). There, he realized that this Jesus is the Messiah. There he realized that this Jesus is able to forgive sin and he's the one that's going to take the sins of the entire world. There, he realized that Jesus was not just the innocent man, the perfect sinless man. There he realized that this Jesus is the Savior of the world.

3c. Repent

Then you see that this thief repents. A changed of his mind, right? One that mock Jesus at the start, have a change of mind. What is repentance? Repentance means a change of mind. This thief has a change of mind, he realized that I was a sinner, he realized that my sin has to be dealt with. And he realized this Jesus was the Messiah that all along the people were waiting for. He turned away from his own personal belief. He turned to Jesus for salvation. There he repented, and he's crying out to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me”, I know that now you are the Messiah, you are the Savior. “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). You know, for the Jewish people, they all have been taught, since young, that there will come a messiah that's going to come and rule and reign with them. This Messiah is going to come establish an earthly kingdom, on Earth with God's people, and they will rule and reign with Him. And there he realized that this is the Messiah. And not just that he asked Jesus, Jesus, when You come into Your kingdom, can you remember me? Can you accept me into your Kingdom when you come and establish in the near future? There he realized that this Jesus is the Messiah. And you know what he did?

Let me ask you this question, what he did was amazing, because what he did was a pure understanding of who Jesus was, and a plea, out of the mercy and the grace and the compassion of God. And he cried out, please remember me. Remember the thief, he was an evil doer, his sin the best that he knew how, he lived his life for himself, and not for others, and not for God's kingdom. And he do whatever he wants in his life. And now, by the way, he deserved to be hung on the cross right, because of his evil deeds. But now, he realized, even though he is a sinful man, he cries for mercy. God have mercy on me. Is it anything that he has done, that he deserves to ask Jesus to remember him when He comes to His kingdom? No, it's not because of whether he's a good person, not because he has done something good in his life, or he is a proud person. No, he was a sinner. And he asked Jesus for mercy, there he repented. And this is the most beautiful part, Jesus replied him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). In other words, hey, you're looking for the future establishment of the earthly kingdom. Now I tell you, you don't need to wait for the future. Today, you will be with me, you will be with me in Heaven, you will have salvation, you will be rescued. And that's what Jesus said. Isn't that amazing? At how we see the conversion of this thief? One that was mocking, to one that ask Jesus for mercy, and how Jesus accepted him, and rescued him and gave him salvation. That is the story of the thief. That's the story of how God was gracious towards this thief, and how this thief came to faith.

Maybe you ask, so what does it have to do with us today? This is the story of the thief. But let me tell you something. This is the story of many of us, for Christians here. This is our story, isn't it? We realize that we don't deserve any of God's mercy and grace. But we understood that God is a God of grace, God is a God of mercy. He died on the cross for us, and not because we are good but because He is good. And we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and He rescued us, as simple as that. But I want to share with the people here that may be hearing the gospel for the first time. As the thief realized that he was a sinner, you today need to realize that you are a sinner. And not just that you are a sinner, the sins that you've ever committed in your life, in the past, even this morning, your sins have to be dealt with.

The Bible tells us, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When you sin, there is a payment, there is a wage and this wages of sin, the Bible tells us is death. This is not the first death that you are thinking about. Because all of us here, we will have to die one day. Just like the thief on the cross, when they are hung on the cross, they will be crucified, they will die. But the thief understood that there is more than life beyond what we have on Earth, he realized that he has to answer to God, for his soul for the things that he has ever done. This death is not referring to the death that we all face. This death is referring to the second death, where your soul is going to go when you die, is either heaven, or eternal lake of punishment, hell. Because the Bible tells us in Revelation, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorceress, the idolaters, and all liars, their portions will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). This is the part where when you die, where your souls will go, is either heaven, or hell, that’s where you are going to be punished by fire and brimstone, that's where you are going to be separated from God for all eternity. This is a serious matter because the thief understood that he was in deep trouble because of his sin. You need to realize that we are all sinners. And that sins that you ever committed need to be paid. Either you paid, you pay your sin in hell or other you pay your sin by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You know, many years ago, this is me, look like Elliot, but this is really me. I don't really have a very good childhood. And I didn’t grow up in church, by the way, I grew up in a Buddhist, Taoist family, and I have no concept that I am a sinner, I have no concept that I need to be saved. I live my life the way that I want. I don't care. That's why I laugh at Christians, right, all these stupid Christians. I mean, during that time, why do they need to go to church? Why do they need to go to ask Jesus to save them? I don't need saving. I don't care. But it was one of the nights where I was attending a church. I was invited by my friend to a barbecue event. It's a scam. They asked me to go barbecue, but they come and share the gospel to me. There I began to first time I hear the name of Jesus. There I realized that this Jesus loves me? This Jesus tells me that I'm a sinner? And I began to find out, I want to find out more about this Christianity. So I attended the church for another three months pretending to be a Christian, but actually I am not. Deep in my heart, I know that I wasn't a Christian. But it was one night during a youth camp sermon, the preacher was talking about the severity of my sin, and the consequence of my sin. The preacher talks about for the wages of sin is death. The preacher talks about I am a sinner and I need a savior. That was where I began to realize how sinful I was and how I need to be safe from my wickedness. You know, I don't come from a well-to-do background, broken family. My parents, my dad passed away when I was very, very young. My mom passed away when I was 13 years old. And my mom got remarried, at the age of, so I was with my stepfather until my mom passed away when I was 13. And my stepfather kicked me out of the house when I was 15, 16 years old when I was secondary school or early poly days. I don't really have good upbringing. No one taught me how to live my life. I live the life that I want. I will do whatever I want. When I gamble and when I lose, I will steal money. I will steal my stepparent’s money. I will do all kinds of stupid stuff. I don't want to name all these things. But I realized that I was a sinner and I need to be saved.

You see, I mentioned this right? Either your sins are being paid in hell forever and ever or either your sins can be paid by the blood of Jesus Christ, who hung on the cross 2000 over years ago to die for your sins, and my sin. There at the age of 15, 16, I realized that I was a sinner. I realized that I need to be saved. Until “unless you see yourself standing there with the shrinking crowd full of hostility and hatred for the holy and innocent lamb of God, you don't really understand the nature and depth of your sin and the necessity of the cross” (C. J. Mahaney). You don't because you will continue to live your life the way you want. Just like the other thief that did not repent, because he didn't understand the severity of the sin that he has ever committed. If you don't understand that sin has consequence.


So, number one, please realize that we are all sinners and in need of a savior. Secondly, just like the thief on the cross, he recognized that Jesus was the innocent man. And Jesus was that perfect God, that Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He recognized that he needs to go to the Savior. He recognized that he needs to be safe.

Yeah, two weeks ago, I was in a severe pain, severe to the point that I will rate the pain 8 out of 10. It was on a Wednesday night, just two weeks ago. And I was doing my discipleship group, and I was telling my disciples, I'm sorry I cannot continue this, I having a migraine, having a severe headache. My toothache is aching. They call all the dentists, and I went to a nearby dentist and do an X ray and this is my x ray. I can tell that my teeth quite crooked and so a bit weird. So nevertheless, the dentist asked me to go see the dentist, the dentist show me the X ray. And the dentists asked me this question, when was the last time you went for a dental? And I say, I don't know. I remember the last time I went to the dental was when I was primary six. That's like 24 years ago. Please don't be like me. The reason why I was going through such pain is because I have not been going to dental for checkups for many, many, many years. Because I don't really know right? I was ignorant really, because of my upbringing. I was ignorant. I didn't know that there is such practice of going to a dentist. When my wife went to the dentist for some cleaning and root canal, I laugh at her, I said, You so stupid. See you so weak, that kind of thing. Because I was really ignorant. And also because of the cost of dental during upbringing, so I didn't really go. I was in severe pain and the pain and I have to deal with it right? The dentist told me, hey, you know what, you have a wisdom tooth that needs to be extracted. Because that wisdom tooth is very near your nerve, that’s why causing you to have such pain. And not just your wisdom tooth decay, I found another five decays in your mouth, you need to deal with it. What's the point of my stupid story? The point is this. You see that decay of teeth is like sin. If you don't deal with it, it's going to come and bite you back. There is consequence. If I don't go to the dentist and like clean my teeth regularly, there will be consequences. I realized at that point, the doctor asked me, do you want to be treated? Do you want to do all the procedure for me to take out the wisdom tooth and feel all the decay and stuff and I have to make a decision then right? And, and I have to do something about it. But unless you realize that there is the decay, I will not need to go to a doctor.

In a similar way unless you realize that you are a sinner. You don't need to go to the savior. My point is that you need to know that you're a sinner and you need to go to the doctor who is able to save you from your sin. You see, the Bible tells us God loves you. And he died for your sins. Your sins have to be dealt with. How? By Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, “but God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for your sins and my sins” (Romans 5:8). And on that cross, He bore our sins on the cross. He paid the price that we are supposed to pay. We are supposed to pay for our sins. But Jesus Christ came to pay for your sins and my sins. He took the full wrath of God and pour upon His own body. There so that we can be reconciled, there so that we can have life, so that we can be saved from sin. “It was not the nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross; it was his unqualified resolution, out of love for his Father, God the Father to do the Father's will and it was out of his love for you and for me” (D A Carson). You need to recognize that you have a problem, you need to recognize that Jesus is the one that can solve your sin problem because He loves you and He loves you by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you and for me. And the thief also recognized something. The thief recognized that it is not his own good works. Similarly, I want you guys to recognize that it is not because you are someone who is rich and you deserve to go heaven to be with Jesus. It is not because you have been in church for many, many years because your parents are Christians or pastors or elders or deacons, there I am safe and secure. No, it's not because of your status, it is not because of your good works.

The Bible tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Just like how the thief had faith in the Messiah, and he was saved, today you need to have faith in Jesus, and you have to understand that “this is not your own good works, it is a gift of God, not a result of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). It's not your good works, my friend. It is really out of the mercy and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you can be safe. “What a mercy it is that men's sins are forgiven by God. All this is of grace” (Charles Spurgeon). We don't deserve, I don't deserve, that thief don't deserve salvation. But it was because of really the grace of God, he received all, he got everything. He got salvation, he got Christ, he's going to be with Jesus in heaven, and he's going to spend it your eternity to know God. That's beautiful, isn't it? “The voice of sin is loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder” (Dwight L. Moody). So come to Jesus, recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, that He can save you from your sin, if you choose to. So not just that we saw the thief repented, isn't it? And today, you need to repent. You need to repent of your sin and turn to Jesus for salvation. “Jesus answered them, Those who are well have no need of a physician. But those who are sick”, spiritually sick, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). Today God is calling, if you're not yet a Christian, this morning, and maybe you're looking for the truth and you hear your Christian friends talk about this, Jesus, you were once mocking, but now you have an appetite. God is working in your heart, and you know that somehow, in your life, everything is pointing towards this Jesus, the Messiah, and you want to know more. God tells you don't just know Him. Come to Him, repent of your sin, turn from your wicked ways and turn to Jesus for salvation. And the Bible tells us it is a gift.

You know, when I went to the dentist, right? The doctor asked me this question. So, what are you going to do? Now you know that you have a dental problem. You know that I can help you. So what are you going to do? What you guess what I did? I say I don’t need la, it’s okay. Of course not, I was in pain. I say please help me. Help me to save my teeth so that I can preach and talk more in the near future, so that I can eat good food. And I have to repent. I have to turn from what I used to think of dentists being expensive and is for the weak, that kind of thing. I have to change my mind and says hey, I need help. And I turn away and I turned to the dentist for help and I think in a similar way, you need to turn to Jesus. The dentist is very kind, right? He doesn’t force them, hey your teeth is super crooked, I am going to fix you, drug you and then you're going to call us and they are going to do every surgery. No, the dentist did not force me. He gave me a choice.

And today similarly I think Jesus wants to give you a choice. God won’t force you to become a Christian to be converted. God gave you a choice. That's why the Bible tells us it's a free gift of God. It is free, paid by Jesus Christ on the cross. But it's free for you to receive. And you have to make a choice right? When someone gives you a gift. Either you can say no thank you and reject the gift. Or you can say and humbly says I want to receive. I want this gift and this gift the Bible tells us is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord, all paid on the cross for you and for me. I have received that gift 20 over years ago and many of you here I believe that you have received that gift many years ago. But if you have not, what are you waiting for? Realize that you're a sinner, and in need of a Savior, recognize that Jesus is the one that can save you from your sins, no other person can save you. He was the perfect man that saved. He is the perfect man and as a perfect man and perfect Man-God, God-Man, only He has the power to forgive sin, and He paid the price on the cross by His own body.

“Without the shedding of blood, there's no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus went on the cross to die for you and for me. You have to make a choice, right? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever” (John 3:16), anyone of us who believes in Him, turn from our wicked ways, and turn to Jesus for salvation. The Bible tells us, “You shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That is the promise. And that's what that thief did 2000 over years ago, and that’s something that you can do this morning, as well. Realize that you're a sinner, in need of a Savior. Recognize that Jesus is the one that can save, and turn to him, repent and turn to him for salvation. What will be your response this morning? Will you be one they will continue to mock? Just like the crowd, just like the Jewish leaders, just like the Roman soldiers, the passerby and the other thief? What would be your response? Will you still continue in your unbelief, disbelief? Will you still continue to think that he is just a joke, he's a liar. Let me tell you something. He is the Lord of the whole universe. He wants to be your God, and He wants to have a relationship with you. “Whoever who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Will you turn back from your sin and turn to Jesus for salvation.


Let us bow with a word of prayer. Today, we look at the story of that thief on the cross through his lens. And we realized that he was someone that was mocking, to one that was asking God for mercy. How about you? Maybe some of you think that, hey, I know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, is the Savior, is the God of the whole universe. But I will wait. I will wait until before I die. Just like the thief right? Before I die, I will come to Jesus Christ. At my deathbed, I will believe in Jesus Christ. But what if it's too late? What if something happens to you, along the way when you go home? What if some tragedy happens to you tomorrow? Don't wait until the deathbed. Today, the Bible says, today is the day of salvation. Today if the Spirit of God is working in your heart and knocking on your door and asking you to turn back, repent, believe. Why don't you do it today? I want to pray for you. I want to pray for not just the unchurched people here, I want to pray for even the church people. And if you're here in church for the longest of time, and the story of salvation, and you have lost the joy of your salvation, you have lost that motivation to serve Him and to live for Him. Remember the cross, why Jesus came to die for you and for me, so that you can have life so that you can have life more abundantly. But for the non-believers in our midst, God wants to have a relationship with you and sin separates you from the love of God. Sins separates you from God and in order to be reconciled, you need to come to Jesus, believe in him. turn from your wicked ways, and repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God, we thank you for this time. Thank you for your word. Thank you for allowing us to see through the lens of the thief how he came to faith. And today we remember how we came to faith and remember those that have not come to faith. God, will you work in a way that no one can. God you love us, you die on the cross for us. It is really out of your love and mercy that you save us. So we commit every soul in this room into your hands that you work and you rule and you reign. We thank you, we love you. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.