promise, Luke 23:43
Promise, Luke 23:43
Acrylic Paint, Graphite, and Gold Leaf on Mylar
2017 – 2018
In this, the second phrase, Christ is speaking to one of the criminals crucified alongside Him. Matthew 27:44 reveals that the onlookers were mocking Him and so were these criminals. However, while they hung on their crosses in agony, one of them was granted faith and humbly asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. Jesus said, not only would He remember the criminal, but that he would be in heaven with Christ that very day.
“Promise, Luke 23:43” –as the piece is called– refers to the hope that Jesus granted this condemned man. Jesus endured misery and suffering, but knew that soon He would be glorified in His Father’s kingdom. The robber did not share the same hope. After his agonizing death would only follow more misery. Instead, the instant Jesus offered this saving grace; the man was faced with a glorious eternity.
The hexagram was chosen to represent each criminal. As explained on the Shapes and Colors page the hexagram, with it’s 6 points, represents a sinful, incomplete mankind. God is still present as is the implied cross, but one of the most notable differences is the gold line extending from “Jesus” to one “criminal” and a red line to the other. These lines indicate which criminal was promised paradise in Heaven.
It must be remembered that the criminals hanging with Jesus represent all people. As Erwin Lutzer writes in his book Cries from the Cross: A Journey into the Heart of Jesus:
“All races, nations, and cultures are divided by the cross. On one side are those individuals who believe, and on the other are those who choose to justify themselves, determined to stand before God on their own record.”
All people are in need of the saving Faith the Holy Spirit provides and this criminal’s faith could not have been granted without the work of the Holy Spirit. He had not seen Jesus’ miracles first hand and he had not heard Him preach. He was introduced to Christ when he was seemingly at His worst. Jesus was beaten, bloodied, and humiliated; but in spite of all this the man believed and was promised paradise for it. Lutzer quotes Charles Spurgeon, an English 19th century pastor, who succinctly summed up the beautiful ending of this profound scene, “this ‘man who was our Lord’s last companion on earth’ was His ‘first companion at the gates of paradise.’”