Posted by: William | May 9, 2008

Seven Sayings – Chapter Two

For more information on this edition of Reading Classics Together, swing by Challies.com or pick up the book, The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross by Arthur W. Pink.

This week’s chapter of Seven Sayings by Arthur W. Pink focused on Jesus’ word of salvation on the cross; most specifically, his brief but profound discourse with the repentant thief on the cross next to him.

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

While reading this, if as if every other line held something that struck me and I wanted to mention. Pink point’s out the beautiful display of God’s sovereign choice of one thief and not the other. He points out the lowliness, humility and shame of the spotless Jesus’ crucifixion between two criminals; that Jesus was “numbered with transgressors”. He points out Jesus’ provision above and beyond what the criminal requested. He points out the representative nature of that criminal in every one of our lives. But I think perhaps what struck me more than other things was Pink’s observation of Jesus’ own desires in that moment and every moment.

The criminal’s request was humble and simple. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He simple requested that when Jesus was finished with this work he was doing, that he would not forget the criminal who hung beside him. Jesus promises to grant this request, but doesn’t stop there. He is unsatisfied to simply snatch the thief from the flames. “Truly,” say’s Jesus, “today you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus primarily desires, not that the criminal will be saved from hell (although that is part of it), but that will be with him. He desires our fellowship.

Pink puts it this way:

“That which makes heaven superlatively attractive to the heart of the saints is not that heaven is a place where we shall be delivered from all sorrow and suffering, nor is it that heaven is the place where we shall meet again those we loved in the Lord, nor is it that heaven is the place of golden streets and pearly gates and jasper walls—no; blessed as these things are, heaven without Christ would not be heaven. It is Christ the heart of the believer longs for and pants after—‘Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee’ (Ps. 73:25). And the most amazing thing is that heaven will not be heaven to Christ in the highest sense until His redeemed are gathered around Him. It is His saints that His heart longs for. To come again and ‘receive us unto himself’ is the joyous expectation set before Him. Not until He sees of the travail of His soul will He be fully satisfied.”

Those are some pretty remarkable claims from Pink’s pen, but they rest insightfully well with Jesus’ own ministry and the whole of scripture.

This is a comfort. It is coals on the fire of pleasure that I can take in the thought of Jesus’ awesome work of salvation on my behalf. The thought of his affection and desire for me, is magnified when I consider how great a desire it was that he would stop at nothing to get it. And it’s supremely comforting to consider that no man, not even me, could have stopped him from getting what he wanted, even before the foundation of the world.

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