Three Crosses, Two Thieves, One Choice

There were two thieves beside Jesus as He died on the cross.

There were also two others, criminals led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,  and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

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.”

The one thief defended Jesus to the other one who kept railing against Him, mockingly telling Jesus to save Himself… 
It’s interesting to me that when people are confronted with their sinfulness, they do one of two things they humble themselves and repent or they pridefully attack the one bringing the truth; looking for fault, deflecting the responsibility, or changing the subject…but…ultimately they are just harming themselves, because they’re missing an opportunity for change.   Humility is the threshold, repentance is the key that unlocks the door.

There were 2 thieves on crosses, beside Jesus as He died.  They had the exact same opportunity…but only one walked free with Jesus in paradise…while the other went straight to hell, still bound with his sin.

The thief that was repentant and said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory!”

How precious…and like a cool refreshing drink of water that must have been to The Lord. This man’s belief in and defense of Him…saying “this man has done NOTHING wrong!” …when the crowds, soldiers and other man were still accusing, cursing and tormenting Him.

It was right afterwards that the earth trembled, it got dark…the temple veil tore and Jesus cried out, committing His spirit to God.

I wonder, what happened after that?

I can imagine seeing Jesus in the spirit, helping that repentant thief down off the cross, putting his arm around him, welcoming his new brother and friend into His kingdom…and then…arm in arm…side by side…they walked together right into paradise.   Jesus was always serving, loving, accepting, comforting and saving others…even in the last moments of his tortuous death.

All while the other thief was being led into utter darkness by demons, bound by his pride and inability to repent.  Still carrying his sin.

How did that humble thief end up on the cross beside Jesus?

Who knows why that man was a thief? Maybe he stole because he had a family to feed…There are “good” people, who do bad things and “bad” people who do good things.

But he had to have had some knowledge of the Messiah, he was surely humble enough to realize he was a sinner that needed saving, plus his heart was good enough to see and know who Jesus was…and knowing this made him courageous enough to defend Him.

It’s interesting to me, that he ended up beside Jesus, and watched Him…as he was tormented. He definitely had a front row seat, and fellowshipped in His sufferings, in a way that none of us ever will.

You have to wonder sometimes if it was the grace and mercy of God that allowed him to be put on that very cross…right then…right beside Jesus…Maybe he’d been offered the opportunity of salvation over and over again…but this time God made sure he would finally get saved?

There are choices in life.  Choose humility, choose repentance, and then choose Jesus!

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