The story of Jesus being crucified between two thieves is both powerful and iconic!. It is a pivotal moment in the Christian faith, symbolizing the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for humanity. The decision that each thief made in response to this moment is also significant, revealing the power of redemption and the possibility of salvation even in the darkest of circumstances.
Do you find yourself struggling with things you have done in the past? Is there something you are currently grappling with in life that has you stuck in the middle? Jesus is standing there in the middle of your situation the same way He stood in the middle of the two thieves on the cross. He is offering you an opportunity to leave your past behind and gravitate to a new life in Him!
SAME OPPORTUNITY, DIFFERENT CHOICES!
We read in Luke 23:32-43 that Jesus was crucified between two criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Both thieves were given the same opportunity, but had different responses to this vital moment. One of them joined in the jeering, while the other spoke up in defense of Jesus, acknowledging his own guilt and asking for mercy.
The contrasting decisions made by the two thieves are a reflection of the human condition. The first thief chose to cling to his pride and rebellion, even in the face of death, according to Luke 23:39, he joined in the crowd and the religious leaders taunting Jesus saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” While the other recognized the reality of his situation, and the justice of his punishment. In Luke 23:40-42, the second thief says to the first one, “Don’t you fear God, 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.” He acknowledged the truth about Jesus and humbled himself before Jesus, saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Their choices demonstrate the power of free will and the potential for transformation, even in the most desperate of circumstances.
DECISIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Jesus responded to the second thief in Luke 23:43 with grace and mercy, saying, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” The second thief made the right decision, and as a result, he received the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive - eternal life with Jesus in paradise. This act of forgiveness and redemption serves as a powerful example of the transformative power of faith. Even in the midst of suffering and death, the thief was able to find salvation through his humble confession and his trust in Jesus.
This is incredible! Think about it: This thief never read the Bible, never got baptized, never took Communion and never served on a Dream Team. He was a criminal! His crimes were so bad that he was sentenced to crucifixion. But, God shows us the radical Gift Of Grace!
THE GIFT OF GRACE: RECEIVE IT!
The gift of grace points to this truth: Good people don’t go to Heaven, and good deeds won’t get you into Heaven. It’s not about what you do for Christ, it’s about what Christ does for YOU!
The way Jesus responded to the repentant thief is proof that there is more grace in God’s heart than there is sin in your past. Now, the question is, what will you choose? Will you receive the truth of Jesus and the Gift of Grace or will you reject it? The choice is yours. Use wisely. Hebrews 3:15 tells us, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
For more encouragement, support, and tools to equip you, we encourage you to check out these additional resources:
- MESSAGE: For the entire message from Part 5 of Liquid Church's "PASSION" Series, "The Tale of Two Thieves" click here.
- ARTICLE: In the Easter season, it’s a great time to read and reflect on various passages of Scripture in the Bible that foreshadow or detail Jesus’ resurrection and reveal its meaning. Here are 10 powerful Scriptures to help you reflect on the real meaning of Easter. To read them, click here.
- JOIN A SMALL GROUP: Small Groups are the way we make a BIG church feel SMALL. Our small groups meet during the week (some in person, some over zoom). They eat together, open the Bible, study the Scriptures, pray, and fellowship together. If you’re not in a group and would like to join one, click here.