Easter is supposed to be a joyful time to celebrate new life, but it’s easy to lose the spring in your step when you’re struggling. While your kids want to paint Easter eggs, you may be wrestling to believe God can renew your marriage or provide a new job. You may not feel like celebrating Easter if you’re struggling to believe.
Celebrating the Resurrection comes hard when you are losing hope. Yet God’s Word tells us faith as small as a mustard seed is all we need to move mountains.
Recently I came across a stunning example of hope in a Bible passage I’d read at least fifty times before without ever noticing it. The story of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus illustrates the power of even the smallest glimmer of faith.
What can we learn about hope in difficult circumstances from the convict who died next to Jesus?
As he himself lay dying on a Roman cross, this man cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23: 42)
How could he possibly hope that Jesus, nailed to a cross, could be the Messiah King the Jews were waiting for? And how did he muster up enough faith and courage to call on Jesus while he himself suffered torture?
Yet somehow this man had a glimmer of faith, and he exercised it by calling on Jesus: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”
We find three powerful words at the heart of his prayer: “Jesus, remember me!”
Isn’t that the heart of faith? Aren’t we all hoping God will remember us and our situation?
- Remember my struggling marriage.
- Remember my sick friend.
- Remember my financial needs.
- Remember my children.
- Remember my hopes and dreams.
You and I can call on Jesus today, just as that criminal did. As we place our hopes before Jesus, we can trust He’ll remember us. Jesus can heal us. He’ll provide for us. He can even increase our faith when we’re not really sure He’ll hear and act on our prayers.
Let’s look at Luke 23:39-43 to see what else we can learn:
Our criminal on the cross might not have fully recognized who Jesus was, but he knew some people called Him the Messiah, the King of the Jews. When the first crucified criminal began to taunt Jesus, our man defended him. He said, “This man has done nothing wrong.”
Our convict took the little he knew about Jesus and acted upon it.
He took the small faith he had and put it to work by calling on Jesus. And Jesus responded to his small faith: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Friend, you and I know much more about Jesus than the convict dying next to Him did. Scripture tells us Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and the Light of the World. He’s the Resurrection and the Life, and He can bring life to all things dead.
Let’s act on what we know and call up our mustard seed faith.
Let’s call on Him today: “Jesus, remember me.”
And He will. Jesus will remember us. He rewarded the small, incomplete faith of that criminal on the cross; He promised the man eternal life, and he has a reward for our small faith as well. Jesus will never forget us. We have hope always.
Will you pray along with me? “Jesus, remember me. Help me to trust you even when I cannot see you working as I’d like. I lift my mustard seed faith up to you. Make it grow, and renew my hope. In your name I pray, Amen.”
Note: This is a shortened, re-edited version of my article that appeared on Crosswalk.com in 2017.
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Photo Credit: Melika