The figure on the center of the cross . . . has no such shadow of sin. "When he lived on earth, he was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
Stainless. Selfless. Even on a sinner's cross Jesus' holiness illuminates heaven . . . .
Many could have spoken on behalf of Jesus, but none did. Until now. Kind words from the lips of a thief. He makes his request. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42).
The Savior turns his heavy head toward the prodigal child and promise, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
To those at the foot of the cross, the dialogue was curious. But to those at the foot of the throne, the dialogue was outrageous. They couldn't imagine it. How could the thief come to paradise? How could a soul speckled by sin go to heaven? How could a sinner be saved? They were about to see.
Did an angle move, did a demon stir as they witnessed the answering of the prayer? The sins of the thief (and all us thieves!) leave him and go to Jesus. Tiny specks at first, then large flakes, and finally layers of filth. Ever evil thought. Each vile deed. The thief's ravings. His cursing. His greed. His sin. All now covering Jesus Christ. What nauseates God now covers his son . . .
The One with no sin becomes sin-filled. The one sin-filled becomes sinless.
It is eternity's most bizarre exchange. Paul explained it like this: "Christ took away the curse the law put on us. He changes places with us and puts himself under that curse" (Galatians 3:13). (From A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado)
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado General editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Nails In Your Hands - MercyMe