Faithlife Corporation

15 April 2007 Amazing Grace

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts

Amazing Grace

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

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

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me  when you come into your kingdom.

43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

                                                                                Luke 23  32-43

“Amazing Grace” has always enjoyed popularity – even amongst those who don’t really understand its meaning. Maybe it’s the tune… Anyway, the recent Wilberforce film uses it – because of course, Newton was associated with the abolition – and he should know being as how he was a slave trading ship captain in his time.

I like the line “That saved a wretch like me…” – and I wonder what modern listeners make of it:-

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

It is all about TRANSFORMATION and RESCUE.

In just a few minutes I want to turn you back to the narrative we read earlier – the story of the Thief on the Cross. 

Here is a man on the threshold of death – who cries to Jesus and is saved.

Oh I know it seems an eternity away from where you and I sit tonight – but it really isn’t.  In this brief and wonderful story there are pointers to how you and I can be transformed – even if at the very extremities of human experience.

To start with it begins at the CROSS.   And although you and I cannot share this man’s extreme experience and unique perspective – we too HAVE TO BEGIN AT THE CROSS OF JESUS.    The Lord Jesus, upon that central cross is working out for us all the possibility of a complete answer – and a glorious hope.     I hope you noticed the theme of this evening’s songs – for it is the same – the Cross of Christ.

1.    His view of himself

2.    His view of Jesus

3.    His view of the future

His view of himself

Matthew and Mark tell us that “The robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him”.

At first this thief shared the view of the other :

“Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But THERE CAME ABOUT A CHANGE.  Perhaps because he could not avoid the wonder of what Jesus said:

“Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing!”

So Luke tells us clearly:

40 But the other criminal  rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.

This is what we call REPENTANCE – a change of mind about himself. If we are to learn from him then we have to learn this.

It was composed of a FEAR OF GOD  and a RECOGNITION OF GUILT.

Any hope of salvation – of a change in our lives and our eternal prospects requires that we face up to our true state before God.

No- we do not stand with this man’s crimes – but before God we are all sinners.

His view of Jesus

Whatever it was about the Man on the centre cross – the thief’s view changed.

It is expressed :-

But this man has done nothing wrong.”


“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

We assume that he might have heard of Jesus – but we know that he knew the nature of the accusation (political) and those who shouted abuse.

He knows that JESUS IS INNOCENT of any crime.

People who consider that truth are obliged to explain it.  Just a victim of intrigue?

Just a scapegoat?

The man’s words are deeply personal.  He may have hours of agony to endure – but he is facing up to WHO JESUS IS.

He recognises that Jesus is a KING – not simply from his title written by Pilate – but from His bearing and His nature.  Even though Jesus dies – this man sees Him entering His kingdom.

God is at work on the central cross – and in the heart of the thief as well.

Who is this Man born to be King – born to die?  The Christ – the Saviour of the world.

The hope of eternity.

His view of the future

On the face of it he has no future at all – just a deserved and awful punishment. But he dares to believe in the transcendence of that Dying Lord – and this gives him a future – both in his prayer – and in Christ’s answer.

All of this man’s prayer life is summed up:

“Jesus, remember me  when you come into your kingdom.

If you are earnest about knowing forgiveness and a future hope you must PRAY


And trust in that glorious – amazing grace –

43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The hours will pass

The Son of Man will die soon

The thief will die later

And Jesus will keep His promise.

At the foot of the cross:-

1.   Your view of yourself


2.   Your view of Jesus


3.   Your view of the future


And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood!
Died he for me who caused his pain!
For me who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?                                               CMP  33

See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
See the rest →