Belt of Truth
Knowing and Applying God's Truth to Real Life
Luke 23:33-43 (NKJV) And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Extraordinary is an Over Used Word. Too often we claim that an event or an accomplishment is extraordinary when it is truly anything but. To reach the heights of “extraordinary” whatever it is must be (let’s use some synonyms) remarkable, exceptional, amazing astonishing, astounding, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable and phenomenal. While suspended between the heaven and earth; atoning for the sins of mankind, Jesus did something extraordinary; He ministered to a condemned criminal.
It was a remarkable unselfish act of putting the needs of someone else before His own. Jesus' pain was close to unbearable. He was struggling to breath. He was finding it difficult to maintain His composure and the crowd observed and delighted in His demise. Jesus’ humiliation before His enemies was complete. A good man, a sinless man, an innocent man, Almighty God in the flesh was suffering; His life slipping away as He bled. In the midst of it all Jesus had compassion on a guilty man and in that moment, He extended the ministry of reconciliation. “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Christ’s Public Ministry was now Complete. Mere moments passed, and Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” bowed His head and gave up the ghost. Jesus, indeed, came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus didn’t just talk—He walked the talk. He led by example. He lived love. His life can be summed up in this word…Extraordinary!
John 13:34-35 (NKJV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 15:9-13 (NKJV) "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
Jesus was teaching His disciples for the last time. This was the last opportunity before the cross to communicate to His disciple. Throughout Christ’s public ministry, He called on His followers to love God. When asked what the greatest commandment in the law and the prophets was, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” In the last precious moments Jesus focused on a new concept; He called on His disciples to love one another.
Jesus further defined the new commandment of loving one another. He called on His disciples to love one another as He had loved them. He then alluded to the ultimate expression of love that He was about to pay: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Make no mistake, Jesus died for His friends; He died for us; He paid the ultimate price.
We, God’s people are called to love one another with the Lord of Christ; and poetically His love has been compared to the depth and the width of an ocean. How amazing; how powerful; how world-shaking would a Church charged up with love for one another be? The impact of Christ's community actively expressing love, forgiveness and acceptance would be an irresistible force. The works of the Enemy would be utterly exposed and summarily destroyed, as there is no weapon to counter its effect. No wonder Jesus commanded us to love one another. Love, specifically, “love for one another” is our secret weapon. Do we want to reach the world and destroy the works of the Enemy? Start with love.
As revealed by God through the Life and Message of Christ; through the wisdom of Solomon; through the letters of the Apostles; through the inspiration of God.