When Jesus was taken to Calvary to be crucified, He was not the only one sentenced to death that day. The Bible tells us that there were two other men who would be crucified alongside our Lord.
There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they came to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Luke 23:32-33
One of the criminals said something interesting. He said, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39) This was not said in a hopeful belief that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, for verse 39 says that the criminal man blasphemed Jesus when he asked that question. This man was literally within feet of the living God and His gift of salvation and he thumbed his nose at Him.
Now the other criminal had a different response. He rebuked the first criminal, fearing God and acknowledging Jesus’ innocence alongside their guilt. Even in his guilty state, this criminal had faith to ask Jesus to remember him.
Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
And here we witness Jesus being Jesus:
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43
This whole scene is such a picture of our sad little world. God offers Himself to us, HIMSELF! He offers us grace and mercy and love and what do we do? We thumb our nose at Him like that thief. “No thanks God, I don’t want to forgive that person.” or “No thanks God, I’d rather be bitter than thankful.” or worst of all, “No thanks God, I don’t want Your salvation.”
Let’s never forget the cross at Calvary. Let’s never forget Innocence in the middle of Guilty. Let us remember that picture and ask ourselves, Which thief am I?