October 30

Text: Matthew 27:38

At that time two robbers *were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.  (NASB)

Though death is death (not a commentary on who we were or what we did), most of us would choose to be surrounded by honorable people at death.  We would prefer to die in the presence of brave people or of moral people rather than criminals.  That is a strange truth given the fact that most acknowledge that who is present at our death does not change who we were or what we did.

At Jesusí crucifixion, Matthew did not note any of Jesusí friends being near the event.  Jesusí enemies were in full evidence.  In fact the writer noted that the scene was everything that Jesus was NOT in life.  It began with the supreme irony of Godís son being executed in the most degrading manner possible.  It continued with soldiers gambling for his clothing, with a sign that seemed to be written to further humiliate Jesus, with thieves executed on each side, with the verbal abuse of those who rejected him, and with the misunderstanding of the curious.  For Jesus, there was no physical comfort around him as he died a slow, agonizing, unjust death.  He devoted himself to righteousness in life, but He was surrounded with unrighteousness in death.

I maintain that Satan had no idea that he was destroying himself in his apparent victory.  Those best qualified to recognize Jesusí real identity were responsible for Jesusí death.  The irony: Godís people were responsible for Godís sonís death!  Pilate knew the death was unjust, but his self-interest prevented him from pursuing justice.  Jesusí closest friends were demoralized.  Jesusí enemies insulted him in every possible way.  The man who cast out demons and raised the dead seemed powerless to help himself.  How brave we become when we seemingly grasp victory!

Yet, with each injustice, Satan only drove another nail in his own coffin!  In apparent victory, there was utter defeat!  Satan would fall victim to the deceit he produced.

Satan crucified Godís son.  God made the crucifixion victim a universal Savior.  Satan did his worst, and God used it as an enormous blessing.  For the Christian, that is the crux of faith.  Satan can do the horrible, but God uses Satanís work for His own purposes to form eternal blessings for us.

Suggestion for reflection: Remember a specific time in your life when Satanís horrible became Godís blessing.  (Read Ruth 4:1-17.)

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