39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”
42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (ESV)
Three men were crucified on Calvary’s hill:
- A hardened sinner:
a. His deeds – a malefactor breaking all the rules, respecting no-one and nothing.
b. His derision – he railed at Jesus, blaspheming Him.
c. His doubt – he revealed a heart that was unconcerned and unconverted.
The character of sinners needs to change, not their condition.
If you see yourself in the person of this dying thief, you need to know a few things:
(i) Nothing you are living for outside of Jesus is worth dying for.
(ii) Today is the day of salvation – you can turn today, dump the doubt and embrace Jesus.
(iii) There is only one way to be saved – believe in Jesus by faith or you will be lost forever.
(iv) Life is a perilous thing – we are all living on borrowed time.
- An honest sinner:
a. His admission – sinners are receiving what they (we all) deserve.
b. His assessment – he looked at Jesus and realized that this is no ordinary man – that He was the Saviour.
c. His appeal – he saw someone who was somehow going to conquer death.
He exhibited astonishing faith, believing the essence of saving faith:
(i) He was honest about his own sins.
(ii) He was convinced that Jesus was who He claimed to be.
(iii) He was willing to call on Jesus for what he needed in his life.
- A holy Saviour:
a. His grief – His pain was more than physical – He became sin for us – alienated from His Father.
b. His grace – loving the repentant sinner, saying ‘today you will be with Me in Paradise’.
c. His guarantee – the thief received Jesus’ promise.
Where do you see yourself this morning – a hardened or an honest sinner? How do you respond to the holy Saviour?