One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 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 23:39-43
Seeing ourselves for who we truly are is the first step to repentance. The second thief looked at Jesus, the Holy Son of God, and the comparison was shocking. At his own crucifixion this criminal could no longer continue covering his sin or depravity; the reflection he saw of himself through the eyes of the true Savior caused him to admit his sin and guilt. “We are receiving the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” With those words, the reflection in the mirror was made clear. “I am a sinner.” Then came surrender and the admission of a need for a Savior. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Without hesitation or condemnation, Jesus’ words were a soothing balm for this man’s lost soul. “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise—the place of Jesus’s presence. Complete cleansing and justification, through the blood of Jesus, that was this man’s deepest need in his darkest hours. That has always been man’s deepest need. We may not all be thieves or murderers, but we are all sinners. Our hearts are darkened by sin and depravity, and when the Holy One looks upon the unsaved soul, He sees sin—no matter the kind.
So God made a way. God always makes a way for us. In the Old Testament, He made way through a tent of meeting or tabernacle. This tabernacle was the means by which sinful man could receive forgiveness from a Holy God. The tabernacle was the conduit God used to allow man to obtain access to Him. Last week we looked at the Brazen Altar as a symbol of forgiveness. Today we will look at the second article, Bronze Lavar, which sat between the Brazen Altar—the place of sacrifice—and the entrance to the Holy Place.
The priest could not enter the Holy Place until he was cleansed with the water at the lavar. Interestingly, the lavar was made of bronze mirrors from women who ministered at the entrance of the tent of meeting (Exodus 38:8). As the priest hovered over the Bronze Lavar washing his hands, do you think he saw his reflection? Did he wonder at the cleansing power of the prophesied Savior as he watched the blood on his hands from the sacrifice drip onto the lavar? Did he wonder at the cleansing power of Jesus? Did he see his bloodstained reflection in the basin of the lavar and realize the depth of his sins in comparison to his Holy God—just as the thief saw the depth of his sins as he looked into the face of Jesus on the cross? Maybe as he washed his hands he heard God whisper in his heart, “Now you may enter into my presence,” just as Jesus spoke the words to the thief, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Do you see the beautiful irony? Christ —the Living Water—cleansed the thief’s heart as he drew near to the cross. This man could not enter the door of Heaven without being washed clean by the blood of Jesus, just as the priest could not enter the door to the Holy Place without being cleaned by the water in the Bronze Lavar.
But what does this mean for you and for me as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection?
The Son of God—Jesus—cleanses our hearts once and for all, and the Word of God cleanses our hearts and minds daily. As we are cleansed by the washing of water through the Word (Ephesians 5:25-27), we are saturated with truth, immersed in God’s grace, and drenched in His glory.
Would you spend time right now immersing yourself in the living Word of God? Prepared for you below is a basin full of truth that will provide you with a daily cleansing of hope and healing for your soul.
Jesus, I praise You today. I praise You as the Sacrificial Lamb that forgives, and the Living Water who saves and makes me new. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the grace I receive as I read Your Word. Thank You for cleansing me from _______________. Continue to prepare my heart for the celebration of Your resurrection. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jacqueline C. Heider
Director of Women’s Ministry,
Prayer & Special Needs Ministry