From the 3rd hour to the 6th hour, as Jesus was on the cross, those who looked upon Him were caught in a place of great confusion. They didn’t understand how the Son of God, who was the dearly beloved of the Heavenly Father would be so broken. They didn’t understand how the Son of God, given such power in the heavenly things and supernatural to save others before their own eyes, could not save himself. They didn’t understand how the example that they would all witness would defy logic in carnal minded thoughts, demonstrating God’s ways that are incomprehensible to our ways.
As they all got it wrong… as they looked to the things of the “seen” instead of the unseen and as they swallowed the demonstration of fleshly separation without comprehension, Jesus made no effort to correct them. He didn’t explain it. He didn’t argue it. He didn’t look down upon them and say, “no, you’ve got it all wrong,” as they clinged to the comforts of a lie that only the flesh could perceive as good. He remained silent and allowed them to scoff in wonderment and make jokes about the occurrence they couldn’t behold. The Great Teacher was done teaching with words.
Only one (in the flesh) did he speak to throughout his time on the cross – the sinner on the cross beside him. As his eyes could see, this criminal next to Jesus (one who was also suffering on a cross) realized that he deserved the cross, but Jesus did not. He saw that he was unworthy of anything but death and asked for mercy from THE ONE who took on this suffering and DID NOT deserve death – he said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” What did he see? Why was the only one in all of those present that was given understanding of how awful he himself was, and how holy Jesus was and why was the criminal the only one that could see past the broken, bloody, body of Jesus and gaze upon “the kingdom”… asking the Lord to have mercy on Him when he arrives at his place of destiny. And the only words Jesus spoke to any of them while he was on the cross, he spoke in a promise to this sinner… this criminal.. this man who was suffering and admitted, “I deserve this… but you don’t Jesus.. you don’t deserve this..”.. He turned to that man and proclaimed.. “Today, you shall be with me in paradise.”
From that time (the 6th hour) to the ninth hour a darkness came over the land. And nothing in any of the gospels was written about this time, in terms of testimony. No one spoke.. No one mocked.. No one laughed any longer. But at the ninth hour, Jesus spoke again. Four gospels give different account of the words spoken, yet in 2 of them the “perceived” message was demonstrating something similar. For some, the words written by David in Psalms 22 were confirmed. And in the Gospel of John the words “it is finished” were recorded.
As the mysteries continue to unfold in the Living Word of God, I feel the Lord speaking to me about perception. As Moses followed God’s instruction in going before Pharaoh with Aaron, God also was in control of Pharaoh’s perception of things, (hardening his heart so that he would respond accordingly to God’s will).
And so often I wonder how so many of us can read the same scripture and be given different meaning (different perception)… He is the one that lifts the scales from our eyes. He is the one that determines what happens in every event, on every day or every hour or every minute in every life that he created. He is the light but he also created the darkness – all with purpose according to HIS will. And even Satan used the word of God as a tool to tempt the very Son of God Jesus Christ – as Jesus gave an answer “it is ALSO written” with understanding of the perception, in which we all who love the Lord labor to gain.
The Word says that “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”… It’s also written that Leviathan is the king of the proud. I may not understand much… but I thank the Lord for continuing to give me understanding of how small I am.. how wrong I am.. how unworthy I am.. and how I know NOTHING unless he revealed that thing to me… and in that I thank Him for showing me the words of this criminal…this sinner… who suffered on the cross next to Jesus and first spoke of FEAR:
1 – “Do you not fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation?”….
Then, he spoke of his own unrighteousness and filth.. knowing he was not good.. knowing he deserved punishment..
2 – “And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds:”
And only after he feared the Lord and then saw his own sinful nature and confessed that he was deserving of nothing good.. could he see the perfection of Jesus…
3 – “but this man hath done nothing amiss.”
And finally… he asked Jesus for mercy and help…
4 – “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Three hours.. of all those people talking and wondering and accusing and scoffing.. and only ONE was made worthy to receive the promise… this sinner… as Jesus answered his heartfelt request and said this..
5 – “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, Today shall you be with me in paradise.“
Only one got to join Jesus in paradise that day….. The one that Feared the Lord, saw his own disgusting fleshly nature, repented, and saw the perfection of Jesus and then.. received mercy and the promise.
Why was the suffering sinner the only one that was given the perception of understanding? Why was he the only one yelling out “you fools, don’t you get it? don’t you understand you are UNDER THE SENTENCE OF CONDEMNATION?”… Don’t you fear the Lord?… But they couldn’t see it the way he did… I guess they thought they were doing good because they were safely on the ground suffering nothing.. comfortable in their own skin (making fun of the very one who was absorbing sin on the cross).. Only God knows why we all see things so differently. Father help us all <3
Heavenly Father, I ask you to battle pride for me with each new day and let no pride remain in me. I ask you to help me to never use your word as weapon to correct, condemn or mock others – to understand that our perception is found in what you ordain as we seek you and chase after you, begging for your mercy upon our lives. Lord I thank you for chastening us as sons and daughters and breaking our flesh and our hearts so that you can then dwell within us. Lord please guide me down the narrow path in meekness, with a broken and contrite spirit, where you draw near to me. Father, I ask you to give me faith and more faith, even when I don’t understand and even when I’m hurting. Lord, help me to see that the broken things are part of your plan and to not judge another’s walk as this sinner, who found you in his suffering and pain was made able to surrender to you, to FEAR you and to see his own ugliness and worthlessness in order to see the perfection of Jesus on that cross. I know the path to paradise comes only through the perfection of Jesus and by nothing that I could ever achieve on my own. Thank you for showing me how unworthy I am and for loving me enough to save a sinner like me. Thank you for your love and mercy and Father I pray for all hearts to come to you and see the perfection that’s only found in your Son Jesus Christ.