Think of Christmas season. Parties, lights and gifts oh how we like the gifts. We like to give presents to honor loved ones.
God also in love, gave us a great Christmas present, the difference is He did not come wrapped in paper, but in love. It was not found beneath a tree, but on the cross. It was not wrapped with ribbons, but with blood.
But thinking of you and me some minutes, imagine how someone can love us so much? What had attracted us to him?
Do you remember the story of "Beauty and the Beast"? A handsome man is in a beast transformed by a curse. It is the ugly beast, ugly, bitter locked in a castle. Attracted to a beautiful young lady who falls in love with him and kiss him making him free of the curse. Some similarities with our lives. Eden perfect but, by the sin transformed in a wild beasts.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us was off the road, but the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Romans 3.10,23 as it is written: There is none righteous, not even one, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,
And our prospects were not good: Jeremiah 13:23 You can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? So we could do good, who are accustomed to do evil.
How can we go a day without sinning? No worries, anxiety, envy, jealousy, anger. And yet he cared, but was not a kiss that saved us. He stood in our place, became "beast" to make us "beautiful." 1 Peter 1:18-20 knowing that it was not with perishable things like silver or gold that you were ransomed from your futile way that you bequeathed your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for your sake.
Yes, and in these conditions gave us the right to choose. Choose of our salvation.
We can not choose many things in our lives, but we have some choices such as:
Choose between the gate narrow or large
between the path space or tight
the crowd and the small group. Matthew 7:13,14
Imagine the scene: Jesus on the cross between two other crosses with two thieves. Thieves start mocking the conversation ... Matthew 27.42 He saved others, himself he can not save himself. It's the King of Israel! Down from the cross, and believe in him. He trusted in God, let Him deliver him now, if indeed he wants him, for he said: I am the Son of God. And they also told him swearing thieves who were crucified with him. But something changes in the end Luke 23:40-43 Responding to him, But the other rebuked him, saying: Do you not fear God, are under the same sentence? We indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this did no harm. Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. Jesus answered, Verily I say to you today will be with me in paradise.
Why Jesus does not make a call and urges the other to save after all, the shepherd goes after the lost sheep, the woman clears the house behind the lost coin ... but what about the father of the prodigal? Why not go look for his son. Because as the thief on the cross was not lost and prodigal so not innocent, he chose where to be.
Sometimes God sends blessings and signs to warn us or call us attention, sometimes the silence coming from Him is giving us freedom to choose where we will spend eternity.
It may be that we have no right to choose many things in this life: appearance, hair, eyes, gifts ... but where to spend eternity yes, we can choose. Would you prefer that it be otherwise? You choose to be an excellent violinist and have a super IQ but not your eternity depends on you?
The thief on the cross may have made many bad choices in his life but a choice has changed his eternity and surpassed all the other bad choices.
Cain and Abel, same parents two different choices Genesis 4
Thieves on the cross, the same situations and different choices.
Now, the same ministry and different choices.
We can now decide where to spend our eternity.
Jesus loved the thief to forgive him and loved other enough to honor his choice.
If today you hear the voice of the Lord will not harden your heart
Yours is the decision.