Join us over the next week as we look at encounters Jesus has with people living in their Hot Mess to help clear up yours...
A Hot Mess
Day 7: The Hot Mess of Sin
Luke 23:32-43 NLT
Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
A life of crime. Sounds like a “hot mess” doesn’t it? Maybe you know someone or maybe you have even lived with that label over your head. We don’t fully know what got these two criminals crucified on either side of Jesus; but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that they were there, unfortunately, and this entire situation was an ugly, hot mess. But, despite the horrendous circumstances that were unfolding breath by breath, there is a small, flickering light in the corner...Jesus was in the middle of them. He was the silver lining, despite death’s darkened skies, and these two criminals didn't even know it. There was hope in the form of a bloody hot mess in the midst of them. And what I so admire about Jesus is this:
In the center of his very own personal, agonizing chaos is the fact that he still reaches out to HELP the guy hanging next to him.
WHO DOES THAT? Only the Son of God.
He forgives our ugliest of moments and nastiest of behaviors? WHO DOES THAT? Only the Son of God.
WHO PARDONS THOUGH IN PAIN? Only the Son of God. On the cross and through the resurrection.
My friends, if we are wiling to cry out. If we are willing to ask forgiveness. If we are willing to reach up for help…we serve a God who is willing. So, yes, the criminal cries out and hours later He is with the Father in heaven. Last words can mean everything…even heaven. Only through the love of our God in our last breath can the Savior give someone a choice to find eternal love. God can and will cut through the hot mess of our darkness and sin if only we will allow Him. What sinful hot mess is lurking beneath your surface? What hatred or bitterness for someone still pierces your side like an irritating thorn? What addiction or behavioral pattern still holds you captive like a ball and chain? Look into the eyes of our Savior. Past the blood. Past the sweat. Behind the tears. Can you see Him? Our God, willing to give up everything so you can live fully FREE. All you have to do is lay your pride down, take the deepest breath you can even if it's your last...and just ask.
Take a moment to read Luke 23 in its entirety and revisit this moment Jesus has on the cross with the two criminals that were being crucified.