Immediately after Christ’s death, He pronounced words of profound certainty to a nameless man hanging beside him. “Verily, I say unto you; today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43. This utterance was said to a man who paid the punishment for his crimes. However, this ministered life and hope to every soul after that. Christ’s interaction with this dejected person years ago reveals the gospel facts about celebrating Easter every season.
Here are the five untold facts about the thief on the cross.
1. There is never hopelessness in God.
Jesus’ interaction with the repentant sinner on the cross was not based on how terrible or insignificant his sin was. Regardless of how damning and sinful our life is, Christ still wants us back, wrapped in His arms and shrouded in His grace. Knowing that Christ is the only light that ignites our blurry vision is delightful. We witnessed the criminal’s faith and belief when he said, “Jesus, remember me when you go into your kingdom.” And also God’s power and readiness to transform regardless of His past failures. “Today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23:41-43.
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The two men hung on the cross with Jesus, one on the right and the other on the left, were found worthy of death. We assume that the two men probably had some indication about who Jesus was judging by the countless number of miracles He performed. For instance, it is possible that these two men must have heard that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and healed a man of leprosy. When it got to the moment of choosing between mortality and the choice of receiving and rejecting the King of kings, one of the two men, having been made pure through the blood of Jesus, received eternity before death. While the other sternly rejected God’s gift of eternal salvation but instead received the damnation of his sin as deserved.
Hence, we are expected to recount this same experience whenever we share the gospel. Some will accept salvation, others will reject it, and we should not feel guilty that our words or reaction is not yielding results. We must love and invite, not cajole and let God handle the rest.
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3. Make Jesus your first choice.
As far as we know, two men were hung beside Jesus on the cross; one on the left, another on the right. But the Bible does not certainly clarify who they are, their background, or their ethnicity. Were they familiar with the gospel of Christ? Have they seen Jesus perform miracles and thought they could also be beneficiaries? However, in such a moment, the two men in the jaws of death had a choice. At the same time, one of the men chooses to believe and accept Jesus as the savior; the other spite and mocks Him. Without a doubt, Christ offers everyone ready to accept that same choice through His death and resurrection.
When you boldly accept God’s gift of salvation, He welcomes you to His presence. Like the other man, you also have a choice to reject Him; you accept or reject. We must make Him the first choice to receive the offer of eternal life. “He that has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” 1 John 5:12.
Without fear of death, God wants us to live in confidence and the assurance of his peace and mercy because he loves us. Like the thief on the cross, Christ eagerly awaits you. All you have to do is run back to Him in surrender and acceptance of His love. Are you ready to do that? Let us know what your opinions are in the comment section.