More to the “thief on the cross”

Luke’s account of the common story of “the thief on the cross” sheds some light on what actually took place before the crucifixion.

This was new revelation for me of what one of the criminals did to secure a “place in Paradise”. I had never seen this before, but it surely fits with what is necessary for salvation. This was not an “earning of salvation”, but a necessary act that proceeds entering into salvation.

One of my Facebook brother’s had posted the following post. When I read it, my mind tried to recall the story. Somehow, I knew that there was something more. So, I went to Luke automatically and found his account of what had happened.

Here is the post :

“The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise.” – D. L. Moody.

But what did the thief do on his own accord before Christ said, “….today you will be with Me in Paradise?”

We pick up the story in Luke 23:39.

“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Here we see some striking things that took place before his death. First, he rebukes the other criminal. So, whose side is he on now? Satan’s or God’s? Then he goes on and says, “Don’t you fear God?” Do you think that this guy, by saying this, might of had the fear of God in him now? He continues and says, “hey, you are under condemnation also”. “You are guilty!”

Then, if this wasn’t enough, he uses his voice again and says, “we deserve this! We have what is rightly coming to us! This is just!” “But this man has done nothing wrong”. Here he confesses that Christ has done nothing wrong. Do you think that he might be saying that he believes in Him?

Now, this tops it all off. Here he confesses on Christ. This may not be the standard way of someone “praying the sinners prayer” or even one realizing that they have broken one of the “Ten Commandments” and thus they are not “a good person”, but salvation is gained.

He says to Jesus, “Lord“. What do you think of that? Is this confessing Jesus as Lord? He then says, “remember me when you get to heaven”. Does this sound like one who is repentant in heart?

This whole story has “Repentance” all over it. Yes, he did wait till the last moment, but he did confess and showed the fruits of repentance. By his own will he chose to “stand up” in front of the other’s, not only the other criminal, but all who were there. He spoke out for Christ! He openly confessed! Christ honored that and received him to Himself.

So, can we honestly say that the commonly called “thief” did nothing before his conversion? He just kept quite and said nothing? He was just a thief that was saved at the last-minute because of God’s love for him?

I must confess, that I had never seen this before. All I heard was all the story’s about the “thief on the cross” that had to do with “last-minute” salvation or the humility of the man, which certainly was the case. Can we have repentance without it?

So, the thief may have not been able to “lift his hands or feet towards salvation” but he did “open his mouth“. Food for thought, I hope.

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3 Responses to “More to the “thief on the cross””

  1. brian Says:

    Before he opened his mouth, he opened his heart!

  2. Richard Says:

    Right on Brian! Thanks

  3. Richard Says:

    “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks”

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