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Lesson 137: The Cross and the Criminals (Luke 23:32-43)

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We have two statements made by Jesus in this passage, one to those who set themselves as His enemies and the other to one who sought His friendship. Both sentences are equally gracious. He longed that all of them would know the Father’s forgiveness, and He looked forward to being in Paradise that same day with His newest disciple. This criminal-turned-friend-of-Jesus was at the most desperate moment that he had ever encountered, and he stood in stark contrast from the criminal on Jesus’s other side. One cried out for a Savior; the other spat out a mocking demand. Both would die that day, but only one (as far as what we can tell) would be freed from his torment. And this freedom came because, as Pastor Daniel puts it, “Affliction can be a tool that God uses to shatter our pride, then see our need, repent of our sins, and believe the Gospel.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Soteriology (Salvation), Suffering, Trials, Persecution

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