Luke 23:40-43 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Today I’d like to talk about remembering, its something we all do. We remember what is important to us. We notice old people when they remember the past, it is important to them, and they tell us about it, because through these stories they are saying, this is who I am. Young people remember birthdays, they are special, often they are looking forward to the time when they will be old enough to do the things they wish. Whether you are young or old, you do not forget the things which are important to you.
If we all remember what is important to us, then there are 2 questions we need to ask: Is Jesus important enough to remember? And if so, What do we remember about Jesus? Some people may not think that Jesus is important enough to remember, and when I find such people, I want them to know more about Jesus, because I believe, and God’s Word says, that Jesus is so important that everyone needs to Him, and that no one can truly live without him. We need Jesus because Jesus is the only Savior there is, as the Bible says, Jesus is the only name given under heaven by which we may be saved.
Some people do not think they need to be saved, for they believe they are in no danger. Some people can see danger but believe they can save themselves. In order to see that we need Jesus to be our Savior, first we need to see our sin, and to see the punishment our sins deserve. Here, I know nothing better to remember the cross, and to imagine that you have been nailed to the cross, and that you are in agony, and that it is your sins that have put you there. How do you save yourself from such a fate? By yourself you cannot. Now imagine that kind of suffering that goes on for all eternity, for when God’s Word says, "The Wages of Sin is Death." It is not talking just about death, but rather of eternal death and of suffering that never ends.
And once we see, that our sins condemn us, and that we cannot save ourselves, then we know we must find someone who can save. Which brings us back to the question, What do you remember about Jesus? Do you remember that Jesus is true God and true man? Do you remember that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords? If you remember that Jesus Christ is King, then what does it mean? Kings are in palaces, in glory and splendor, unapproachable to common people. Christ the King has a glory greater than any celebrity, or any so called star, it is so great, that everyone bows down to him – and if all the people we think are great, important, special, famous – if they all bow down to Jesus – how great must Jesus be? And if Jesus is so special, who can approach him? Throughout Jesus ministry on earth, he kept saying "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Do you remember?
But when it comes time to talk about Christ the King, this year, instead of talking about His power and glory, we remember something quite different, we remember a King who is nailed to a cross, suffering in the place of his subjects, dying in our place because he loved us that much, that he would die to save us. When we talk about Christ the King, we are talking about God who loves us, about God who comes to us, bringing forgiveness peace and life, and giving us this gift in love. So we remember Jesus who died for our sins to bring us salvation, because he loved us that much. And that is something well worth remembering, it is something that cannot only change our lives, but can change the world. For the words, "today you will be with me in paradise." Are words of hope not just to 1 repent thief on a cross, but they are words of hope to all sinners, they are the hope and promise of forgiveness.
And while it is always good that we and others remember Christ the King who comes to us in love as our Savior, there is yet one more thing we ought to consider. That is, how will Jesus remember us. Will he remember us for the wrongs we done, for the grudges we’ve held. Will he remember how we have rebelled against Him? Are these the ways that we want Jesus to remember us? If not, we need to take to heart the words of the Lord’s prayer, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Certainly we do not want Christ to remember our sins, and that alone is a good reason to repent, that the blood of Jesus might cleanse us and wash us clean, and that he might receive us into his everlasting kingdom. We want Christ to remember us, not as sinners, but as the children of God by grace through faith, and so we dedicate our lives to Him.