Luke 23:39-43, “39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”; 40; But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God; ” he said; “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly; for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”; 42Then he said; “Jesus; remember me when you come into your kingdom.”; 43 Jesus answered him; “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise.” (NIV)
Luke is reporting a story after Jesus was crucified. He was at the center crucified besides two guilty criminals crucified with Him on death row. While the two criminals should have been thinking about their destiny, they were both throwing insults at Jesus, but after a while one criminal insulting Jesus stopped to think of his destiny while the other continued. With only one life to live and not knowing where that life would lead them, one stopped to rethink. All three on the cross were under the same sentence, only One was innocent.
Luke 23:39, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”; We as human may be insulting Jesus without even knowing. When you reject the One who has given you life, has led you, has done all for you, are you not insulting Him? You’ve heard His Name, you’ve been witnessed to but still refuse to surrender your life to Him. Just because you have not seen Him perform miracles in your life you think He is a wimp, a crutch for Christians. You even take His holy Name and reduce it to a four letter filth word to express disgust simply because He is quiet. You refuse to admit your sins because you don’t think your sins are that bad compared to someone else. You don’t see it as exceeding sinful and you keep covering it up with self-righteousness. You try to work your way into heaven by what you call “good works” making His dying on the cross in vain. What an insult!! This is the same kind of attitude the first criminal had. I will not be surprised if he even thought he was being punished unjustly. Too careless to think of what happens to him after this life. Now what is sin?, sin is transgression of the law (lying, stealing, lusting, fornication, adultery, coveting, dishonoring, murdering (also includes hating), taking God’s name in vain, failing to keep Sabbath day holy, Him not first in your life, having other things given reverence instead of God. I was guilty of all like the thief/criminal on the cross.
Vs. “40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God; ” he said; “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly; for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong”. I love this other thief/criminal because he has but a moment, he has thought about his life, all that he ever did, what landed him on the cross. He knows that if he dies, there is something beyond the grave he has to be ready for. He has no one to condemn or blame for being on the cross but himself. All he does is see himself in his true state, a criminal who deserve justice. He knows he is getting what he deserves,. In the middle he sees a Man who has no criminal records, doesn’t even make sense why He is there and not complaining for being there. He is humbled on the cross. If He is not doing it for His sake, He must have been accused wrongfully and someone else is going free. Then I remember, it was a custom to release ONE prisoner during a feast, in this case it was either Jesus the Christ or Barabbas the murderer. They let go a murderer and the innocent Man is condemned to die. Philippians 2:7-8,”7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!”(NIV) All I can imagine is as this thief was on the cross, thinking that if it was between him and Jesus instead of Barabbas, they would have let him go and crucified Jesus. He now understands that Jesus is also on the cross to take his punishment.
Vs. 42-43, “42Then he said; “Jesus; remember me when you come into your kingdom.”; 43 Jesus answered him; “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise.” (NIV). With one life to live, no avenue for escape, condemned to die justly, hanging in the balance of eternity he cries out to Christ to remember him, and Jesus promises to be together with him in paradise (eternity), James 4:6, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble”. One was proud and arrogant, God resists such but this other criminal was humble and Christ gave him grace. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” and without Grace, there can be no salvation. One made it to heaven while the other made it to hell based on the choices they made. You have one life to live here on earth, think about your eternal salvation, you too are on the cross for what you’ve done. You are not crucified wrongfully, you are crucified for sinning. Either you continue to throw insults by your life style or humble yourself and come clean, this is your day of salvation, tomorrow may never be. Saying sinner’s prayer or doing ritual stuff or going to church or paying tithe does not save you, only God does. And God only saves those who see themselves lost in dark sin and cry out to Him to save them from their sins. A patient will never desire cure until He sees sickness in his life killing him. You will never cry to be rescued until you see yourself drowning.
The bible says, “Examine yourself and see if you are in the faith”. Make your calling and election sure, don’t let pride and arrogance stand in your way. Repent of your sins and put on the Lord Jesus to save you from sure death, obey his words and you will pass from death to life. Blessings Ev