About two thousand years ago, a thief, condemned to death due his crimes, encountered Christ. He had faith that Jesus was the Christ. The other thief who had also been condemned mocked Jesus, in response to him he said, “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 (Jesus) said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43).
This week, our brothers in Christ, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad for drug trafficking, a crime committed 10 years ago. Ten years ago, Andrew and Myuran were in Bali taking drugs to Australia, along with 7 others. They were caught and Andrew and Myuran were sentenced to death by firing squad. When the sentence was carried out they were repented men, who both had become Christians, whilst in prison. In the time spent in prison both men contributed towards the reformation of others prisoners by Andrew being a pastor and mentor and Myuran a painter and taught classes to their fellow inmates.
On the night of their executions, guards had tears in their eyes as they were handed over to be transported to the location they would be executed. When they arrived at the site, all the men hugged and said goodbye to each other. Instead of being restrained on a pole, they, along with the other 6 condemned, were fastened to their own crosses.
During this they sang songs of praises to God. They sang Amazing Grace before being shot by a 12-member firing squad. They died on a cross, condemned by man but they had been redeemed and not condemned by Christ.
John 3:16 -18a
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Our brothers are with the Lord Jesus Christ, like Jesus told the thief on the cross. They are not condemned, because they believed in Him.