An Encounter With Jesus Takes the Guilt Away

April 14, 2019 Speaker: Ted Detiveaux Series: Encountering Christ

Topic: Righteousness

An Encounter with Jesus Takes the Guilt Away


The first week we talked about how Jesus wants a lasting encounter. It goes beyond the salvation experience; it is a lifestyle of encountering Christ.

Then we learned how an encounter with Jesus will change everythingabout us including our identity, our behavior, even those secret thingscan be made whole with a Christ encounter.

Last week we talked about how an encounter with Christ gets the party started.  We were created to experience fullness of joy, but that fullness is only found in Christ.

Today we want to talk about how our guilt is taken away, through an encounter with Christ.

Up to this point in our story today, Jesus had been wrongly accused, mocked, beaten, arrested, and brought before Pontius Pilate, then brought to Herodand then back to Pontius Pilate to stand trial for something He did not do. 

This was the accusation brought against Him.

2We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”

Pilate eventually consentedto the crowd who was veryadamant about crucifying Jesus.  

Luke 23:32-43

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 

This verse says that the criminals were led, which implies movement, and that they were led with Jesus. Before this, Jesus could be found walking with and leading his disciplesor walking with a man named Jairuswho was needing Jesus to heal his daughter. He could be found walking to Zacchaeus’house, or even walking up the mountainto pray to the Father.

Now he is found walking to his deathalong with two other criminals.  A crier would read aloudthe charges against the criminal on the way to where the criminal was to be crucified.  Afterward the charge against the criminal was to be affixed to the cross, revealing to all the reason for the execution.  This was called a “titulus.”

He was treated as a criminalwould be treated and He was associated not with the apostlesbut with thieves.  He was crucified on a cross and thereby perceived by the Jews to be accursed.

But with him are two criminals who were guiltyof the crime thus deserving the penalty of death.  Jesus on the other hand had done nothing deserving of death.  In fact, the titulus that was over Him read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.” 

The only thing they could come against him with was that Jesus was proclaiming to be Kingof the Jews.  Though they intended the titulus to be a mockery, God had intended it as an actual proclamationof who He was.  He was indeed the King of the Jews, the King of all kings.

ThoughHe did not reign or overthrowthe Roman government as the Jews were hoping.  But His reign and dominion were not just a temporary reignon earth but a forever reign in heaven.  Seated with the Father in heavenly places.  The Jews were wanting aquick fix to their problem.

Thus, they rejected Jesusas their king. 

33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 

Jesus is portrayed as the ring leader of these criminalsas He is placed in the middle of them.  As if He deservedthe same punishment that these criminals deserved. 

That’s what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote:

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

He became sin, He bore the shamethat is accompanied with that sin so that we can become the righteousness of God.

It is interesting how earlier in Jesus’ ministry, two of Jesus’ disciplesJames and Johnhad made Jesus a proposal.

Mark 10:37

 “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 

Jesus in return ask James and John if they were willing to drink the same cup of sufferingthat Jesus would drink from. Meaning would they be willing to die the same death that He would.  He then tells them that the position on the left or rightof Him was not His to givebut rather it was for the Father to make that decision.

Now we have two individuals who are on both the left and rightside of Jesus, not because they were desirous of such a position, but rather because this was their consequence for their crime.

This is interesting because both instances deal with our position in Christ. James and John were arguing who is the greatestand who would be to the left and right of Jesus, while these two thieveswho are about to die find themselves to the left and right of Jesusbut to get to thatposition required dying. So, it is for those who are wanting to be great in the kingdom of God. The way up is down, meaning if you are wanting to be great then you have to die to your flesh.

 Many want the glory but are not willing to go through the gory.

Something to keep in mind as we continue the story.

34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 

As ruthless as Jesus was treatedby those who beathim, mockedhim, spitupon Him, insultedHim, crucifiedHim, He still asked the Father to forgivethem.  He did not only preachthis;

Matthew 5:44

44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

But He lived it outeven as He hung on the cross. 

35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

There were so many people with misconceptionsabout who Jesus was and what He came to do.  The Jews were hoping for an earthly king to rise upand overthrow the Romanswhen that did not happen, they rejected Jesusaltogether. 

The soldiers viewed Jesusas way to get compensatedby gambling for His robes.  They also used him to poke fun at the Jewsas being inferior to them, being He was their kingand that the Roman power had seemed to prevailagainst the power of their king.

The religious rulers are scoffingat Him, admitting that He had saved others, and are now wanting Him to prove Himselfby getting himself from the cross. 

Even one of the criminals join in with the mockery. 

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Everybody was wanting to be saved, everyone was looking for hope, everyone was wanting something or someone to believe in, yet they were only looking at their external needs.

What they had failed to realize is that they had a spiritual conditionwhich required Jesus to fully commit to dyingon the cross. Coming off the crosswould have been a miracle but only short livedin the minds of those looking on.  He cameto the earth to die not just for a momentin time but for all of eternity.  So that all could become the righteousness of God.

The other criminaljust wanted to be rescued from his current suffering.

There are two responsesto personal suffering,

  • You can either blame Godfor being in Hell that you have been in or
  • We can acknowledge that we are sinnersand do not deserve anything We should thencry out for mercyin our time of desperation to the one who is able to save.

That is exactly what begins to happen with the second thief. 

 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 

Miraculously, something changedin this man.  Before, he was led by his sinful nature, doing sinful thingslike stealing, which led him to the punishmentof death which he now faces.  But in this moment, he has a revelation about Jesus.

I believe the moment he saw Jesus forgivehis enemies that his heart began to changetoward Him. He realized that Jesus was not like them. They had no regard for their fellow manas they stole from them, yet Jesus cherished his fellowman even those who had been so hateful toward Him.  This kind of love can only come from God, as God is love.

He began to see Jesus for who He truly was.   That He was loving, He was merciful, He was the Son of God. 

He rebukes his counterpartfor not fearing God and for talking foolishlyto the Son of God knowing that he too was about to die.

This is the truth about the gospel, some will receive Himfor who He is, while others will revile and curse Him and reject Him to their own demise.

Eternity was hanging in the balancefor both thieves.  Their choice was eitherto believe in Jesus, repent, and spend an eternity with Him, or reject him and spend an eternity in hell forever separated from Jesus. 

41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 

This man had a heart change, he owned up to his sin, he realized his sin had consequences, he acknowledged the Sovereignty of Jesusalso the fact that He was innocentof the crime that He was accused of, and he calls out to Him as Saviorpleading for Mercy. Though he was guiltyand deserved death, he pleads for mercy.  Mercy is what He finds.

43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The enemy thought he had this thiefbut at the very last moment he is snatched out of the handsof darkness and into the hands of a loving Saviorwho would welcome him on the other side.

That day two thieveswent to the cross guilty of sin, but only one would leave the earth justified, cleansed, made pure, the righteousness of God.

Oh, how that would have eased the pain of deathknowing that when he died in the body that He would be present with the Lord.  As believers in Christ we have that same hope.

That day one thief went to be with the Lordwhile the other would spend an eternity separatedfrom the Lord while burning in a fiery hell.

I want you to know today, that heaven and hell are real.  After you die then comes the judgement of God.  You will stand before Him and give an account of your life. 

The bible would say that all are guilty

Romans 6:23

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 

We are all born with this sinful natureand we are all inclined to do sinful things. 

On top of that our sin has the consequence of death.  You deserve to die, just as the two thieves deserved to die.

Romans 3:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are not just talking a physical death but a spiritual deathas well. 

Revelation 20:15

 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

But here is the good news.

Romans 6:24

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

You can either leave this earthas the righteousness of Godthrough faith in Jesus or you can leave unrepentant and condemnedto separation from God for eternity.

You don’t have to wait till you are dyingon your death bed to cry out to Jesus.

  • First of all, you do not know if you will have such an opportunity.
  • Secondly by postponing salvation you’re are missing out on havinga joy filled, spirit filled, peace filled, life here on earth.

An Encounter with Jesus Takes the Guilt Away.


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