The "Thief on the Cross" Video

The Invitation Video

Luke 23:40-43 "The Thief"

But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

The thief's insights are rather remarkable!  Let's look at them one by one.

* He fears God. This criminal understands the fear of the Lord, especially as he knows his hours are numbered.  He finds it unthinkable that Christ is under the same sentence as he and the other criminal are.

* He admits to his own wrongs, and says both he and the other criminal deserve death for their misdeeds. He knows he is a sinner, and acknowledges that "the wages of sin are death."  He is honest with himself and with all around him.  One senses a true repentance here.

* He proclaims Jesus as innocent.
"This man has done nothing wrong."  This criminal is unique in proclaiming the innocence of Christ.  There is not one soul there who is recorded as making this brave confession.  In fact, this man is confessing Christ before all who will hear.  One senses that the criminal at least knows about Jesus, perhaps even knows him.

* He expresses faith in Jesus as the Messiah and his non-earthly kingdom.
However, here is the statement that is the most mysterious.  "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."  This is shocking!  The criminal is addressing a naked man who is being executed on a Roman cross. Blood is dripping from his head, hands, feet, and back. His face has been abused.  This criminal heard the challenge given to Jesus that he prove himself to be the Messiah by coming down from the cross (vs 35, 37, 39).  He had seen nothing spectacular happen--Jesus had not come down from the cross, God had not delivered him, there had been no signs, no darkness, no earthquakes--not yet.  In spite of this, the criminal expresses unthinkable faith!  He calls Jesus a king, who is about to enter his kingdom!  He asks not for any special place in the kingdom; rather, he asks only that Jesus remember him.

Duration: approx. 5 minutes

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