By Dr Edward Tamale -Sali
“And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink.
And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.
They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched Him there; Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself.
If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save.
If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.
He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God.
The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth” (Matthew 27:33-36,38, 40-44 ).
There has never been any human being who suffered like Jesus did.
What He went through on His journey to the Cross is beyond any human reasoning.
The amount of torture, abuse and shame was all depicted in that week leading to the Cross.
All His friends and disciples forsook Him, but God was with Him through this traumatic experience and in death and resurrection.
‘Mr Death’ lost his power over Him. He rose victoriously and He is alive today. And he that believes Him shall live also.
The two thieves
These two men who were crucified on the same day represent two kinds of people today:
1- All men in this world are sinners; you and I inclusive. Romans 3:23 reveal this: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.
At the Cross, both thieves hurled insults at Jesus and like many today, these thieves called Him all kinds of things.
2-However, at the last minute, one of them on the right hand, confessed his sins and cried in repentance to Jesus.
He knew even in the last minutes that Jesus was God. Jesus instantly forgave him and made this powerful statement:
“Today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23: 43).
This is the same today, many turn to the Lord and He takes them on with open arms.
3-The thief on the left did not realise his mistakes, yet he had an opportunity.
He represents those who adamantly refuse to believe Jesus, despite the evidence.
In my experience as a medical doctor, I have witnessed dying patients and the majority adamantly refuse, while a few accept Jesus in their last hour.
In 1965, my father died at Mulago National Refferal hospital.
I had just been admitted at Lubiri SS Kampala. While he was in the hospital, one born-again nurse ministered to him about Jesus Christ and he accepted Him as his savior.
His life was transformed instantly and he did the following:
1- He invited my mother and asked her to forgive him all the wrongs he did against her.
She forgave him and they reconciled to each other before Jesus.
2-When this happened, my father ordered that the witchcraft under his bed to be taken out and be burned.
My sister Dorothy Namuddu, who had just got saved also called my Canadian pastor Hugh Leyzell, from the Full Gospel Church and they drove to our home in Masaka district and celebrated as they burnt the witchcraft.
Shortly after this, my dad died. This day, I had a dream and in this, I saw an angel dressed in shining white clothing taking my father with him to the skies. 57- years later, this dream is still vivid and clear to me.
Three days after my dad had been buried, the Muslim men who were building the grave suddenly called my mother and people at home to inform them that there was music in the grave.
Those who rushed to the grave started hearing resurrection songs coming from the grave and thought they had buried his radio with him. But the radio was at home!
This music went on for about one hour. About 20 people gave their lives to the Lord because of this. Hallelujah!
As we celebrate the resurrection, let us remember what Jesus accomplished for us.
Remember that thief on the right side, who accepted the Lord in the last minute of his life.
Remember the story of my dad in his last days, God visited him.
Be not like that thief on the left side, who ignored Jesus in the last hours of his life.
He had the same chance, you and I have right now.
God’s provision of salvation to you and I are real today. Just call upon Him now and you will receive salvation
John3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”