by Sandy Kirby Quandt
We’ve heard the story. We’ve analyzed the motives. We’ve memorized the words.
On the day Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was nailed to a cross and died for the sins of all mankind, and paid the penalty for a debt he did not owe, two thieves hung on either side of him.
One thief mocked Jesus, saying if he were indeed the Messiah, he should get himself down from the cross and spare the lives of the two hanging on either side of him while he was at it. His taunting showed his heart. It showed his unbelief. It showed his eternal destination.
The other thief had a different attitude toward Christ.
He recognized Jesus for who he truly was. The Son of God. And he trembled.
This thief knew he deserved the death penalty for the sins he committed. He didn’t try to weasel his way out of the punishment due him.
He also knew Christ was innocent and did not deserve to die a horribly wretched death on the Roman instrument of cruel inhumane punishment.
This thief humbly asked Jesus to remember him once Jesus went into his heavenly kingdom.
Jesus allowed himself to be sacrificed so you and I could understand how deep, how wide, and how strong his love for us is. It’s personal. Christ had each and every one of us in his thoughts and on his heart when he became the Sacrificial Lamb. Our face ran through his mind as he breathed his last breath.
We have a choice, you know.
We can be like the first thief.
Mock Jesus, make fun of him, and refuse his sacrifice.
Or we can be like the second thief.
Acknowledge the fact we are sinners who deserve to die for our sins, who are in great need of a Savior, and in humble gratitude give of our best to the Master.
However that manifests itself in our lives.
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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 (NLT)
I wish you well.
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