The Greatest Wingman

One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while You’re at it!”
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this Man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43
The wingman. One of my favorite movies was ‘Top Gun,’ which is a movie about fighter planes. In the movie, there is a reference to the expression called ‘the wingman.’ The role of the wingman is quite important. They were there to help or intercede in case the other person was engaged in fighting with one plane and an enemy plane would come in. The wingman could thus either prevent trouble that might erupt or ensure success if it was in jeopardy. That person was on your side, and when you went into a situation where danger lurked or something required you to have a backup, they were with you. Now if you’re someone on the dating scene, the term ‘wingman’ may mean something different, but it amounts to a similar role. In thinking about this spiritually, I asked myself, “Could one say that Jesus might very well be a wingman?” Maybe. In fact, might He be the greatest wingman ever? Then answer is quite simply … yes!
Jesus is the best wingman we can ever have. In today’s verses, let’s focus on the plight of the man on the cross accepting guilt. Here he is. Humbled. Admitting of guilt. Rightfully punished. Understanding that, he could very well have been like the other man scoffing at Jesus and looked to blame someone else for the things he ultimately was responsible for. But instead, he accepted responsibility for his crimes, and only asked that Jesus remember him when His Kingdom would come. The reason why these verses are such a favorite of mine is because it should be very easy to see whose story this is. It is mine, and for many of you, it’s yours too. Broken. Saddled with guilt. Feeling unworthy. That is where I was when I looked and said, “I am not deserving of such grace, but maybe what I have learned can be of use to someone so that they may learn how wonderful God is.” And Jesus answered much like He did to the humbled man on the cross. “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise,” He said. Here is the thing. This is not just a story about coming to Christ. It’s about having the assurance that the one true living God is always there. Watching. Protecting. Providing. Loving. There is no danger we can’t go into, and He is there to intercede when trouble is present. That’s ‘wingman’ type stuff!
It is so good to know God is ours and we are His. The first time I ever spoke on these verses, I spoke of the man being Jesus’ right hand man. Well I was right, and I was wrong. I was right that he understood Christ was the leader and he was the supporting cast looking to do right by Him. Where I was wrong was that in our lives, Jesus is our right-hand man. He makes all things possible, and though we are not perfect, we are made perfect through Him. You might argue that Jesus is the leader of your life, and you would be right. But God can’t lead unless we allow Him to. We must want that, and while God has the script, the book of our lives is … well … ours. Even Mercutio had a story in Romeo and Juliet. Let us own our story being God’s humble servants and trusting He will be there for us. How can you change your scoffing toward being more accountable for your life? How can you better humble yourself before God in your confessions? I pray we lead a life as Jesus would want us to knowing He is always there as our ‘wingman.’ Amen.
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About Kent:
“I am what all Christians are: flawed and always growing. I am not immune to failure, and I don’t always do the right things, but I learn from my mistakes, and always show love to all who I know. Furthermore, through Christ I have joy knowing I have His grace even though I didn’t deserve it and His love even as I can’t imagine it. I have written devotion for the past 14 years using my life’s experiences both before and after being born again and focusing on its relevance to Biblical teachings and today’s culture.”

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