There were two thieves on the hill Golgotha with Jesus, one to either side of Him. All three men were nailed to crosses. Jesus was innocent of any crime. The thieves, however, were both guilty of the crimes they were being punished for. The punishment may seem harsh to us, but that was the law back then.
The Thieves on Golgotha
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save
Both the thieves lived lives blatantly opposed to God’s righteousness and justice, they were thieves after all. But please don’t misunderstand me, I am no better. I was just as much an enemy of God as any man. Living a life full of self-satisfaction and debauchery for the majority of my adult life.
But look at the one thief: at the very end of his life, he asks Jesus to remember him when He comes into His Kingdom. And what’s Jesus response? It’s not the “What have you done for me lately?” or “What have you EVER done for me?” answer we would all likely give this man. And Jesus had every right to ask those questions.
No, Jesus’s response was full of mercy and grace.
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Why? Because salvation, the fulfillment of God’s promise to redeem a people for Himself, is NOT dependent on ANYTHING we have, are or will do! Hallelujah!
LITERALLY, ANYONE, AT ANY TIME IN THEIR LIVES, CAN RECEIVE SALVATION!
Think about that sentence and what it means. There is no one that for any reason CANNOT receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. It can be the final hour. The 11th hour at 11:59 pm with the second hand one tick away from striking 12. Death is right there to greet them, and salvation can be had!
I want to fall to my knees in awe of this, and I have in the past. Knowing the depths of my depravity, how selfish I have been, how rebellious I have been… how richly I deserve NOTHING… BUT GOD!
If you are feeling something tug at you while reading this, would you pray this prayer with me:
Freedom and peace can be yours in Jesus,