Today’s reading: Matthew 27-28.
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. G.K. Chesterton
I’m thankful for the gift of life. Because I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I’ve been given eternal life in addition to this temporal life on Earth. As I read the account of Jesus’ death on the cross, I’m amazed at the way that, even in death, he gave life to those around him.
The thief on the cross – He believed in the Savior. Matthew introduced the two thieves on the crosses beside Jesus, but Luke gave the rest of the story. One of the thieves confessed his sin and expressed his belief that Jesus was the Messiah. Because of his faith, Jesus promised the thief that he would join him in paradise that day.
The Centurion – He worshiped the Lord. Though a hardened military man, he fell down before the Lord when he saw the evidence of creation being shaken by Jesus’ death.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54
Joseph of Arimathea – He loved the Master. Joseph demonstrated his love by the heroic measures he took in providing a tomb for Jesus’s body. It’s not clear when Joseph made the life-changing decision to follow Jesus, but there was no doubt where he stood after Jesus’ death.
Barabbas – He was spared because of the Lamb. I don’t know what happened to Barabbas after he was freed. I do know he escaped a certain death at the hands of the Romans because Jesus took his place. We’ll have to wait until heaven to learn how he used his second chance, but could any man have had a clearer demonstration of the saving power of Jesus’ death on the cross?
The religious leaders taunted Jesus, mocking him for not saving himself. Yet all the while he was continuing to do the miraculous work of saving those around him. This Thanksgiving Day is a perfect time to thank Jesus for dying to save you. If you haven’t accepted his gift, why not do it today? “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Image by J. James Tissot on Flickr, CC by 2.0