Luke 23:39-43: “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ 42 Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ 43 And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’"
When Jesus was hung on a cross He was not alone. Two other men were also crucified with Him. One of the criminals went along with the crowd and began to mock Jesus. This poor soul even in his own state could not resist joining in. Some people, even in the midst of their miserable state cannot or will not admit that they might be wrong; that their well laid plans or their careful calculations are wrong. This criminal was hanging on a cross, his life no longer his, and his final act in this world was to mock an innocent man. There was however, another criminal who could not stand to hear anymore. He was hanging on a cross on the other side of Jesus. He rebuked the insolent criminal and said, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?” He acknowledged that Jesus had done nothing wrong to receive this execution. Furthermore, this criminal had recognized what Jesus was doing on the cross. He said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
These two men deserved the punishment they received. Jesus, however, did not deserve to hang on a cross. This was the path that He chose. One decided to mock the love that kept Jesus on the cross. This criminal said, "If You are the Christ, then save your self and save us.” There are many in the world today who approach Jesus with the same statement, "If You are the Christ”, as if Jesus needs to prove Himself to us. Many declare, “If God is real show me a sign, or if you really are who you say you are, then prove your self to me. One of the men did not question Jesus’ authority; he recognized that Jesus was on the cross because of His love for world. That is why he declared, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
Jesus accepted this man because of his belief, in spite of what had caused him to be convicted. This man did not need a sign; he simply trusted that Jesus was dying for him. We all have a decision to make about Jesus. Do we cry out for a sign or simply accept the truth that Jesus Himself declared. When we examine the claims of Jesus we can only conclude that either Jesus was a liar, a crazy man, or He was in fact telling the truth. Which of these, do you conclude about Jesus?
Old Testament: 1 Kings 10-11 New Testament Luke 24:1-35