Thieves and Heaven

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“And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.” Mark 15:23

As Jesus was paying the ultimate price for your sin, the crowd that was gathered at the foot of the cross contained not just the ones who were carrying out His death sentence given by Rome but also the religious critics.

Many in this group were taunting Jesus saying:

“And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.” (Luke 23:35)

God had come to earth some thirty-three years before and grew up among them and watched Him “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) This child became a man and used his “wisdom and stature” to put these same men in God’s “favour.”

Some of these men had been witnesses to the power of God; not only healing the sick, giving sight to the blind and even raising of the dead but still taunted Jesus to save Himself. These “rulers” were ignorant of the work of God that was taking place right in front of their eyes.

This same child who became a man now hung on a sinner's cross, not for His sin but, for the sin of these very same men who taunted Him and became a part of God’s purpose in Jesus hanging on the cross. They did not see who Jesus was but others did. One of the men who was overseeing the execution of Jesus had this experience:

 “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)

There was another as well:

“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

It was for this purpose Jesus had rejected the “wine mingled with myrrh” that would have dulled the pain of the cross so He would be able to finish His work –taking the atonement of the sin of the world to the Holy of Holies that is in God’s heaven and this “thief” was the first living recipient of God’s grace.

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