By Funmi Komolafe
Brethren, we are still in the season of Easter and we have lots of lessons to learn from Easter.
Such lessons are meant to guide us as Christians if indeed we are true followers of Christ.
Generally, when one is asked a question, on whose side are you? It presupposes that there are two or more issues before you and you are expected to make a choice.
To others, the question may mean more than making a choice but for this purpose, we assume, there are two or more sides from which one is expected to make a choice.
For a start, let’s look at the two thieves who were nailed to the cross about the same time as our Lord Jesus.
Luke 23 vs. 39-43 is our reference “ And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shall thou be with me in paradise”.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are all familiar with this story but perhaps not many of us have a deeper understanding of the characters mentioned here.
First, is that these two condemned men were the architects of what befell them. They consciously stole. Perhaps they stole as a quick way of becoming rich or they wanted to belong to the class of the rich in the society. No one can say exactly what their motive was but what is not disputable is that they stole. The Holy Bible did not tell us whether they were armed robbers or pen robbers but it is assumed that the crime they committed was so severe that they had to be sentenced to death by hanging.
I know we are all quick to condemn them, but what about you? What is that thing that you are doing secretly just to get rich quick? You were born into a Christian family and taught the Christian values but you chose to deviate from it, all because you want to become society’s big man or woman. Therefore, you chose the option of visiting herbalists to make get-rick charms for you. Or you made up your mind to belong to a particular cult group or you decided to use your God-given body to make money and you rationalize it by saying, it is hardship. It is hardship that has made you to become a prostitute. Or you are the lady that does not see anything wrong with using your body to attract customers to your business by engaging in corporate prostitution.
Remember that if no one knows that secret ungodly Christian conduct that you are engaged in, whatever you are doing is no secret to God and the day of judgment may come earlier than you think.
I’ll share with you the story of one of my seniors while we were in the secondary school in Lagos whom I’ll simply refer to as lady D. Her immediate younger sister Ms. T. was my classmate and friend. Both were daughters of a wealthy mother who traded in imported clothes. We are all in a Christian school owned by one of the prominent Churches.
One day, we were talking casually about wealth when suddenly, Lady D said, she must be rich and that if she didn’t get to be rich, she would use a human being to make money. That is she would consult herbalists who specialize in using people to make money to help her. Even as a young teenager, I was shocked and that was the reason, I never forgot her statement.
Many years later, almost a decade after we left secondary school, I saw Lady D at Marina car park driving a really posh Mercedes Benz car. Of course, I called her and greeted her. She said she was on vacation from the United States of America. By this time, I had lost touch with my friend, her sister who was also in America.
To shorten the story about five years later, I was invited to a party by another schoolmate and somehow, many of us met there. I then asked after lady D. I was told she was in jail in the United States for trafficking in hard drugs. Do you see where she has ended all in a bid to get rich quick? While in prison, would she say she didn’t deserve to be in prison?.
You won’t be surprised to hear people say, is she the only one who trafficked in drugs, didn’t x, y, z . get away with it the same offense? When we are not true to our conscience we tend to rationalize. We brush away the fact that no sinner will go unpunished except he or she repents.
This brings me back to the story of the two thieves who were nailed to the cross about the same time with our Lord Jesus.
In the Bible passage quoted, one of the thieves said, “ If you are the Christ, save yourself and us”. While the second, said, “ Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man ( Jesus) hath done nothing amiss”.
Now you see how the first thief wanted to use Jesus as a short cut to his freedom. Freedom to go back to his crime. Whereas, the second, admitted he committed a crime or series of criminal activities and asked for forgiveness. Did you say, forgiveness?
Luke23 vs. 42 let’s see what the second thief said, “ And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom”.
The second thief must have had the opportunity of listening to sermons by Jesus and his disciples. Perhaps, as a result of keeping the company of bad friends he became a thief but he knew that there was and still is a kingdom to which Jesus belongs. Not only that, he knew that Jesus was in a position to forgive him his sins. Though he didn’t ask directly that his sins should be forgiven, he knew that only those on the Lord’s side will be in the kingdom of Jesus.
Instantly, he received the mercy of God. In Luke 23 vs. 43, the Holy Bible recorded the reply of Jesus thus “ And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shall thou be with me in paradise”.
Are you still in doubt that his sins were forgiven?
Let’s look at where all thieves, liars, cultists etc. will end. Revelations 21 vs. 8 “ But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death”.
With the above scripture, we now know where the thief who wanted the short cut to freedom ended just as we know where the one who sought the salvation of his soul ended.
Brethren, on whose side are you? On the side of light or darkness. If you choose darkness living ungodly life, always bear in mind that wether you like it or not, Light which our Lord represents will surely overshadow darkness.
Take a decision today on whose side you want to be. Remember, like the second thief, as long as you are still alive, it is not too late to give your life to Christ.
With Christ in your life comes an end to all challenges be it loneliness, barrenness, unemployment etc.
With Christ comes peace, joy and all the good things of life that you desire.
In the name of Jesus, every seed you sow this week will produce amazing results.
The peace of the Lord be with you and your family.