Luke 23:39-41

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying,
“Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
But the other answered, and rebuking him said,
“Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
 Luke 23:39–41
For many years, I was part of a summer book club. One month, when we gathered to discuss our book, someone commented about the day’s lovely weather–sunny and dry after weeks of rain, rain, rain, and then more rain. ‘Listening to the weather people comment on this week’s good forecast has been interesting,’ one of the women said. ‘They keep saying Iowans deserve nice weather.’ She chuckled. ‘Since when do we deserve a good weather forecast?’
 
Our talk shifted to what people, including the three of us, truly deserve. According to the Bible, we don’t deserve sunny weather. We deserve an annihilating flood, but thanks to God’s promise to Noah, we aren’t going to get one. Good news for rain-soaked Iowans, we agreed. But, we reminded one another, what fallen people like us truly deserve is eternal separation from God.
 
Thanks to Christ’s death on the cross, we don’t have to receive what we deserve. Instead, we are given what we need: eternal life in the presence of the One who bore the sins of the world upon His shoulders. Christ didn’t deserve to bear our punishment but did so to show the depths of His love to lost sinners. By His sacrifice, He rescued all who come to trust Him as Savior. Our group of fallen sinners was pretty quiet for a few minutes as we contemplated what we deserved and thanked God for saving us instead.
 
A few nights later, I met my friends at a city band concert. As we settled into our lawn chairs, another friend found us. ‘Isn’t this weather great?’ She sat beside us at a picnic table. ‘We need the sun.’ The magic of a perfect summer evening soaked into our bones and stilled us. Our eyes drank in the beauty of the blue sky, the lush green foliage of the woods. A light breeze, warm and not at all humid, kept the mosquitoes at bay as we relaxed in our chairs.
 
Acutely aware of all I have received and do not deserve, I nodded and turned toward her. ‘Yes,’ I agreed quietly. ‘We truly need the Son.’
Jolene Philo | Author

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