Read Luke 23:32-34
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.
• C.S. Lewis describes pride as "spiritual cancer." Have you--or someone you know--been infected by it?
• Think about what you observe and how you feel. Has the presence of pride in your life blocked you from growing closer to God?
• Have you been real with Jesus and allowed Him to cleanse and free you from sin? (Read 1 John 1:9 and explain how this transforms a Christian's life ... and helps us to grow spiritually.)
Imagine how Christ's words of forgiveness reverberated deep into this man's soul. Love he had never known filled and cleansed him. We, too, deserve to die for our sins. Yet how often are we like the first criminal? We do something wrong and find ourselves facing the consequences. We want Jesus to prove Himself, to save us from the situation we're in. We want Him to get us down off the cross, but we don't want to admit that we deserve to be there. Sometimes we even lash out at Jesus for the "injustice" we feel.
But like the second criminal, some of us choose to admit our sin, confess that Jesus is Lord--and receive the gift of eternal life. His story is a beautiful example of the power of confession. Casting aside pride, standing against shame, he submitted to Christ's authority. Just as this criminal met his end with a peace and certainly more powerful than death, so we can face our circumstances with strength, freedom, and guidance from God's Spirit. Only when we make such a confession will we hear those exciting words from Jesus' lips, "... you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
Lord Jesus, I confess my sin to You today. Please forgive me, purify me, and help me to grow closer to You. Thank God that He is faithful even when you are not. Ask Him to forgive you and to help you change your actions so you can live in a way that is pleasing to Him.