Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


The Other Guy on the Cross

Scripture teaches that our words have great power. So do our eyes. What we choose to see—or not see is important.

For instance, rabbits don’t lay eggs. This can be confusing. I thought I’d figure it out eventually. Imagine my disappointment when I was eligible for social security and still didn’t understand the rabbit/egg thing. Most of us eat the chocolate and choose not to examine the logistics.

Sometimes scripture is like that also. For instance, Galatians 2:20 says:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

For years, that has been just a verse I quoted, but I didn’t get it. It was so nebulous and spiritual that I couldn’t sink my teeth into it. It was like trying to eat Jell-O with a fork. Or searching for eggs in a rabbit hutch.  

But this week I discovered a way to understand this line of scripture and apply it to my life in a practical way.

There were two men who were crucified with Jesus. We’ll get to meet one of them in heaven, the thief who hung on a cross of his own. Whatever he did must have been horrendous. Rome only took the “worst of the worst” to Golgotha. This was no ordinary petty shoplifter. As he hung there, he knew his life was about to end. Despite the pain and indescribable suffering, this man deserved to be there.

He looked over at Jesus who was bleeding and dying as well. The last thing Jesus looked like was a king, but the thief knew something the Roman soldiers didn’t know. The priests and rabbis didn’t know. Most of the Jewish people didn’t know either.

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.” (Luke 23:39-43)

When we’re truly crucified with Christ, we’ll be like that thief. He no longer cared about what people thought about him. His ego and pride were long gone. People could have yelled that he was ugly and stupid, but it didn’t bother him, because he was crucified with Christ.

Imagine while he was being crucified with Christ, a prostitute walked by. Do you think he’d look at her? No, he was crucified with Christ. Imagine if a Roman Centurion drove up in his sporty new chariot with eight horsepower and dual slaves. Would the thief think, “Man, I’d sure like to own one of those?” No. He was crucified with Christ. Imagine a wealthy Sadducee stood there wearing a mink robe and a velvet prayer shawl. Do you think that thief would yell, “Where can I get an outfit like that?” No again. He was crucified with Christ.

None of those things mattered to Him. The only thing that mattered was Jesus.

When we put ourselves on the cross next to Jesus, we will finally lose our desire for anything else. The origin of chocolate eggs won’t matter at all.