“And Jesus said unto him, Truly I say unto you, Today you shall be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:43
When we get honest with ourselves and with the Lord, eternal changes can happen immediately. The story of the Thief on the Cross still speaks to us and reveals principles we can still apply today – even when total defeat is staring us right in the face!
Think of the continual barrage of insults, accusations and harangues of hatred being thrown at Jesus from the soldiers, the chief priests, the crowd, and even BOTH of the thieves (Mt. 27:44)! But there came a moment for one of the thieves. He heard Jesus speak to God at a moment when most people would be cursing Him and everyone else! He was requesting mercy for those who were torturing Him! He heard, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Maybe it was something in Jesus’ voice, or the peace that He saw in Jesus. It’s obvious that this thief sensed the Spirit of God and began to get honest with himself and with God. Something in him began to sober up in that moment and He began to rebuke the other thief by asking him questions. “Have you no fear of God, seeing you’re condemned just like Him?” Have you no remorse or reverence, even now? He said, “We deserve this! He doesn’t!”
This account of the Thief on the Cross gives us a great deal of revelation. It shows us four simple truths that we can apply today where our own needs are concerned:
- He got Honest with himself and with God. He emptied himself of his usual excuses and JUST – GOT – HONEST!
- He Humbled Himself and took responsibility for his sins and admitted his guilt to Jesus, to the other thief, and to the onlooking crowd. This was a public confession where he admitted he was guilty and deserved his punishment. What else can any of us do?!
- He Silenced the Voice of the Enemy. This is BIG!He didn’t allow the words of his fellow criminal to go unchallenged. We know it was the devil who was inspiring the events of the crucifixion (1 Cor. 2:8). We know satan was inspiring the chief priests, scribes and elders who were saying, “If you’re the Son of God…” That was the language of the devil in the wilderness, and it came through loud and clear here too! This was the devil gloating because he thought he finally won! Isn’t it stunning that it was a thief who was silencing him?
- He Received his Salvation: How do we know that? He called Jesus, “Lord…” (Rom. 10:8-9)
Why is this in the Bible!?
It reveals the heart of a vile sinner who was beautifully saved; one of the greatest turnarounds ever witnessed! It says that the worst of us can be completely changed in a moment of honesty and humility. It tells us that a moment of truth, humility and faith can bring eternal power into our situation no matter what our need is! The thief won! The devil lost! Jesus was raised from the dead, and He’s the same today for you! Think about it, there may be an eternity in the balance…
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