By: Nancy Kilpatrick
Do you recall the scene on crucifixion Day? There were two criminals that were sentenced to death along with Jesus. Matthew and Mark both report them ridiculing Jesus along with the crowd. While one continued to ridicule Jesus and saying that if he was really the Christ then he could save himself for this entire crowd to witness and free them also.
However, Luke records the fact that the other thief recognized that Jesus really was innocent, and he quickly reminded the other thief of their guilt and deserving of their sentence. He said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus looks on the heart and despite his own pain that he was dealing with he heard the thief make that decisive statement and Jesus immediately focused His attention on him. He turned his gaze on him, saw into the depths of his soul, and declared that he would meet Him in paradise. He said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrase “remember me” my mind immediately goes to the Last Supper when Jesus is passing out the broken bread and the cup of wine representing his blood. I wonder how many times, and when, do we remember him? Is it only when we have communion together at church or when we sometimes do communion at home? Or is it only when saying ‘grace’ at mealtime? Or a quick nighttime prayer before going to sleep? Or are we constantly, during the day, keeping Him in our thoughts and listening for His direction in the choices we make each day? Or do we ‘make a date’, a special time each day to just sit in His presence and feel His Holy Spirit embrace us and sometimes even thoughts that could only come from Him become real to us?
I was recently reading again the story of Paul in the later part of Acts; he is determined to make a trip to Jerusalem. There was something that stood out very clearly and I think you will understand what I’m talking about. In Acts 21:4 he is in Tyre, and the people there loved him very much, so they are seriously warning him not to go to Jerusalem. They fear that something very dangerous may happen to him there. But he will not be discouraged from making this trip. I began to wonder what it was that kept him so determined.
It was one of those days when I was just sitting in His presence in my living room and trying to not think of anything except just to whisper His Name and feel His presence. But I’d been reading about Paul and the thought just popped in my head and flooded over me, “He was remembering his Damascus experience, when he truly met Jesus on that road to Damascus. Jesus revealed Himself to Saul, which was his given name at that time, in a real, very dramatic way, that changed Saul’s life forever and is name was changed to Paul.
I went back to Acts and here is what I found:
- He left Tyre and Acts 21:8-14, he had arrived at Caesarea and at Philip’s house where a prophet named Agabus was staying. Agabus took Paul’s belt and bound up his own wrists and feet with Paul’s belt. Then he told Paul, “This is what is going to happen to the man this belt belongs to if he goes to Jerusalem.” He was warned again!
- Paul’s response to him was that he was ready to die if that was what was in store for him, but he was not changing his mind. He was going on to Jerusalem. Still determined.
- Acts 21:27-28, some Jews at the temple started the people to riot against Paul.
- Acts 22:1, Paul got permission to speak to the crowd and he recalled to their remembrance his experience on the Damascus Road. He remembered and shared his testimony.
- Act 23:25, He was put in prison and went before Felix.
- Acts 24:27, two years later Felix left the office and Festus took his place.
- Act 26:1-32, Festus arranged a meeting between him and Agrippa. And again, Paul remembered and repeated his entire story of his life, his education, and his entire meeting with the Christ that he had spent his life fighting against.
So why was he so determined to go to Jerusalem that even the thought of prison or death did not deter him from making that trip? HE REMEMBERED!!!!
The words to this song are so meaningful that it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it or try to sing it:
Are you living your life in a hurry, Spending each day on the run.
Do you make big decisions without a clear vision, just hoping that God’s will is done?
God has given His Spirit to lead you if you’ll only take time to hear.
By His Word with His wisdom, He’ll feed you, He’s just waiting for you to draw near.
And to take time to sit at His table. He has a place prepared daily for you.
So, make time to sit in His Presence, to hear His voice whisper, “My child, I love you.”
I can only say that I believe; I’m absolutely convinced, that our faithful, loving Jesus is so ready to come back after His bride so very soon and there are people all around us every day who are totally unaware of their unpreparedness for His return. The ten virgins did not know when their groom was coming but they were told to be prepared. They all thought they were prepared; they had their lamps. Their lamps were trimmed and glowing but as the night grew long, five of them realized that their oil was beginning to run low so they asked the other virgins to loan them some. However, the five wise virgins had brought extra oil just to be sure they would not run out and because they could not share what they had the five foolish virgins had to quickly run to purchase some more.
Unfortunately, while they were gone, the groom came and when the foolish virgins made it to the wedding celebration, they found the door locked and they could not get in. These five foolish virgins were not bad people. They were not the hateful, the thieves, the murderers, the condemned people. They were part of the invited people, expected to be at the wedding. They were the ones who attended church regularly, maybe taught a class, always there to help when the church had an event planned. But they had not enough oil to last through the night until the groom arrived.
We are now in the middle of the night and the groom, our Groom Jesus Himself, is about to arrive and I challenge everyone reading this article to be prepared. And to also look around you. Do you know someone that may need more oil in their lamps, so they are prepared? Once the groom arrives, it’s too late to go running for more oil. We must all be prepared now, and we must be about His business to prepare those around us to be prepared as well. Next year, next month, next week, perhaps even tomorrow may be too late. “Remember, Today is the day of salvation!”