Three Men, Three Crosses
Conversations with eternal consequences occur all the time. Such a conversation occurred on a very dark Friday among the three men hanging together on three crosses, while they waited to die.
The two criminals heard Jesus say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). This statement probably provoked and in some way steered the conversation that followed. The conversation began with one of the dying criminals lashing out verbally: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The statement was a dare of sorts, similar to one Jesus had faced in the wilderness with Satan, “If you are the Son of God …” (Luke 4:3, 9). Before Jesus could answer, the other criminal weighed in: “‘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”’ (Luke 23:40-41).
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-46).
In that moment, this dying criminal had more faith than all the other disciples combined. Even though the disciples still loved Jesus, their hope in him as the Messiah was shattered. By all appearances, the Kingdom Jesus spoke of was finished. But this unnamed criminal was able to look past what was happening in the moment and see Jesus as the Savior of the world.
Questions to Consider
What caused you to put your faith in Jesus Christ?
How would you describe your turning point?
What eternal hope does this account give you today?
Talking to God
God is so quick to forgive those who put their hope in him! Thank him for his readiness to respond to the thief on the cross, and thank him for specific ways he drew you to himself.