The Crucifixion of Christ
By Michael Knapp
On the day that Jesus was crucified, there were two malefactors, or thieves, with Him, one on His right hand and one on His left. We can find the account of this primarily in Luke chapter 23. The dialogue that happened between Jesus and the thieves is overwhelming and is a small picture of the salvation of God. The passage and dialogue reads:
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:39-43).
When we rightly look into this, we can see that we ourselves were once in this situation. We were once of the conversation of those railing on of the Son of God; we were all once rightly condemned to die, not primarily because of the sins in which we committed against men, but because of the sin that we committed against God. Those sins that were within our hearts, the things of this world that we could not release, the sin that we committed when we refused to come to the Lamb of God. We deserved death, we deserved the punishment the crucifixion had brought to those who deserve death. We all were of that fold at one time.
In Matthew chapter 27 verse 44 it states that both the thieves were casting the same words as those who reviled the Christ. But yet in verse 40 of our passage, the one thief saw who Jesus truly was; He was the Christ, the Son of the living God and at this time, he rebuked the other. He saw that they deserved the death and penalty for the sin that they had committed, and he rightly saw that Jesus hath done nothing amiss. I can just picture in my sanctified mind the overwhelming joy that was felt by the repentant thief when he asked Jesus, God manifested in the flesh, to remember him when Christ comes into His kingdom and Jesus replies “today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” Oh the joy of the angels when one sinner repents.
This thief had not the power nor the means to free himself, he had not the clout or status to be released from the immanent judgment that was pronounced upon him for his own sinful acts. We, my brethren, were of the same camp, we had no hope in the world, and we had no means to release ourselves from the bondage and sin and death. But, just as the thief, a lost sheep, when he had heard the voice of the Good Shepherd and asked from his heart for the remembrance of Christ, we too, when we heard we responded with a true heart in full assurance of faith and Christ answered and said, “today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
Let us, every day of our lives, see that we need Jesus, let the cry be upon our lips, “remember me as Thou art in thy kingdom”, and let our hearts rejoice in knowing that He has replied, “This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.”