The Thief on the Cross.
by, January 12th, 2017 at 02:27 AM (88 Views)
There are many prophets, apostles, and servants in the bible with amazing faith. But there is one saint who is often overlooked and not included in the “visitation list" --The list of saints most Christians want to visit and talk with when they get to heaven.
I've often wondered about the thief on the cross who was crucified next to Jesus, and how he must have felt when Jesus forgave him the day he died. He was not of noble birth and certainly did not live a "righteous" life. I picture him as your average, run of the mill thief, trying to support an easy living with a little help from the "five finger discount". More than likely, violence, dysfunction, and poverty, were players in this man's biography. I picture his profile not too far off from the hard cases we house in our own maximum security prisons. His death was a result of the type of life he lived on this earth, but still salvation found its way, and his remarkable story is evidence of the pure Grace of God.
He and another thief were crucified next to Jesus, one on each side. These were hard men and their insults prove just how bitter and hard they were towards Jesus.
Matthew 27:38-44 --Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is 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.’” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
Both robbers reviled Jesus at the beginning, but later on one of the thieves had a wonderful change of mind. Repentance (turning of the heart) found its way into the heart of one of the thieves as he spent some time next to the Son of God. The love of Jesus was never dormant even unto death. Light dawned in the heart of this man as he looked over to Jesus, a broken man with no pride left to resist...
Luke 23:39-43 --Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us. ”But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Amazing love my friends is the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an incredible example of just how simple salvation is. This man was a criminal and became a believer while hanging next to Jesus. He did not have time for penance, he did not have time to help 100 old ladies across the street, he was a thief, not a giver to the poor. But the moment he believed in the Lord Jesus he was saved. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise”. This man was reunited with His Lord that same day in paradise. Oh, the joy he must have felt when His Lord took him in His arms and held him with a sweet embrace full of forgiveness. Eternal life was given to a man who was restricted in his ability to earn it. This is the unconditional love of our Lord Jesus Christ!!
And yes, I want to talk with this man, and hear his wonderful testimony. I want to hear the whole story from a thief who had nothing, but was given everything on hill called Calvary!
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.