Matthew 27 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.” Matthew 27:38
I believe Jerusalem is the center of the world. That may sound esoteric, but it’s the way I feel the Bible teaches it. On the world map, everything to the left of Jerusalem is known as “the West”. Everything right is called “the East”.
Ever wondered why Yeshua was crucified between two “thieves”? Why not murderers, heretics, or drunkards…anything other than thieves?
Whenever I think about the thieves flanking Yeshua, it reminds me of the differences between Eastern and Western cultures; and how the East & West have stolen from G_d.
What sums-up Eastern philosophy? The East is typified by religious discipline, without a personal relationship to G_d. It is impressive, (and sometimes a bit scary) how far Eastern religions go to appease G_d. Be it Allah, Vishnu, or any of the millions of Eastern religious gods, none of them invite you to a personal relationship with a loving & gracious savior. Their gods are impersonal, and always need appeasing. Who would dare expect that kind of god to call you a “brother” or “friend”, “son” or “daughter”?
What about the West? The West wants liberty, without accountability. Western culture doesn’t want anything to hinder the pursuit of happiness. It seeks to eliminate whatever rules may stifle the desire of the individual. If Western culture has a creed, it might be, “If it feels good, do it!” or perhaps, “Your belief is good for you; just don’t interfere with my pursuit of happiness.”
I’m not sure that my observation was intended in Scripture. It is simply what I thought of when I read today’s passage. Still, it is plain to see the East and West have stolen from Yeshua. Perhaps, the thieves on either side of Yeshua can act as a stern reminder, that being more Conservative or Liberal than G_d directs, is stealing from Him what He requires of us.
Yeshua commands we be disciplined, but He also wants a personal relationship. He bestows liberty, but gives us boundaries. In contrast to thieves who steal from anyone they can con, Yeshua offers mercy to the guilty, and grace to anyone who will receive it.
Have you received His free gift of atonement? Simply turn to Him. “Declare it with your mouth that Yeshua is L_rd and believe it in your heart that G_d has raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10
In other words, believe and make it public.
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Thursday, May 16, 2013