Our scripture this week is Luke 23:33-43.

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Luke 23:40-41

“We are getting what we deserve” – what a frightening statement. If we really got what we deserved, we would be in deep trouble and despair. We are all flawed and sinful, regardless of how good we try to be. Only through Jesus can we be forgiven.

It is said that justice is getting what we deserve and mercy is not getting what we deserve, but instead being given a gift we don’t deserve. Jesus didn’t deserve to die on the cross and we certainly don’t deserve the gift of mercy and salvation He gave us. Jesus was willing to give up everything so that we might be saved.

I saw a sculpture that showed the world and a pair of giant hands. One labeled “Justice” was curled into a fist, ready to smash the world. The other labeled “Mercy” held back the fist. Isaiah 53:5 tells us “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Jesus is the sacrifice that stands between us and the punishment we deserve.

Loving Lord, we are unworthy to receive the gift You offer us. We are grateful for the immense love You send to save us from sin. Help us to know Your love in our lives and to share it with all the world. Amen.

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