Briefing: Do you have someone in your town or jurisdiction that you would call a reprobate? This could be the town drunk, they guy who beats his wife every weekend or the kid who sells drugs. Are they beyond saving?
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 27:32-44 and Luke 23:32-43.
On the Street: Jesus was crucified between two thieves. This was a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12. It is shocking to see how much of these final hours of Jesus’ life were prophesied about in the Old Testament, yet the chief priests and elders of Israel could not connect the dots.
Through this study, we continue to see example after example of Jesus having amazing compassion for those around Him. I think back to the passage where He finds out John the Baptist, His cousin and friend, was killed. Jesus wanted to go to a quiet place and pray. When He got to that place, there were thousands of people chasing after Him to be healed. Jesus stops what He is doing, forgets about His own troubles and focuses on the crowd.
Luke’s account goes into much greater detail about the conversation with the thief on the cross. If you have not read Luke 23:32-43, I would suggest you stop here, read it, and come back to the study.
Here, Jesus is nailed to the cross after being beaten beyond comprehension. He must have been in incredible agony from His wounds and blood loss, yet He focuses His attention on one of the thieves next to Him. Jesus grants Him salvation and gives him words of assurance. I like how Jesus tells him, “today you will be with me in paradise”. There was no time to get down off the cross and be baptized. Jesus has the power to save you where you are with just a touch or a word.
Lastly, I want to give credit to the chief priests for finally getting something right. In verse forty-three, they are quoted as saying, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him”. Jesus did trust in God, if He did not trust Him, He would not have allowed Himself to be crucified.
Highlights from this Read: The study of the wine is very interesting. This cup of wine is also referred to by Jesus as the cup of wrath. See Psalm 75:8 on the cup of wrath and Psalm 69:21 for more on gall in the wine. The word “crucify” means to put on the cross. I used to think it meant death but it is more of an action like shoot or stab. The prophesy that foretells of this event is found in Psalm 22:18.
Investigational Resources: Isaiah 53 is a great prophetic passage about Jesus. For more on Jesus’ crucifixion, read the accounts of Mark (15:22-32) and Luke (19:17-24).
Officer Safety Principle: Jesus, in the midst of terrible suffering, took time to show compassion on a man that could be labeled as a reprobate by those in his community. This reprobate was still loved by Christ. We need to continue to love those who appear to be beyond saving.
from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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