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The thief on the cross

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

who turned to Jesus in his last minutes alive

Luke 23:33-43

33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Comment: Could you forgive those who were about to execute you, a tall order?

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” Comment: these people were blind and clueless.

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Comment: the vinegar was to drug him and might have been an act of mercy, but Jesus did not want it. The cross was surrounded by mockers.

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Comment: the notice was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, the main world languages of the day.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” Comment: another mocker!

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Comment this thief recognised Jesus as a righteous man with a righteous mission.

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Comment; it is not clear exactly what the 'good' thief expected from Jesus.

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Comment: we know from other scriptures that paradise means heaven, Wow what a result for the penitent thief.

When we look at the criminals in this story, we find one is proud and thinks he can make it on his own, the other thief at the point of death becomes humble and turns to Jesus. Can you identify with either of these thieves today? The moral of the story is that it is never too late to turn to God at least whilst we are still alive. It is never too late to say you are sorry and do a U-turn in your life towards God.

Amazingly, this 'last chance saloon' offer is still on the table today. Even today, it is not too late for you to turn to God through Jesus Christ and embrace Jesus as your saviour.

Today, if you hear God's voice (if you feel he is tugging your heart strings) do not harden your heart. Repeat this scripture two more times.

We never know in life just when God will come knocking on the door of your heart, this could be for you, a 'last chance saloon' offer. Today, this very day, you can book your place in heaven, so do not leave here today without speaking to one of the team and make your peace with God.

Prayer, Lord we confess, we are sinners, help us turn to you through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, and Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.


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