Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."[e] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One." The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself." There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
As we journey during this lenten season toward the Cross of Christ and the glory of his resurrection - let us ponder the other 2 crosses on the hill of Calvary. One on either side of Christ. Think about God's promise as you ponder the other two crosses... one on Jesus' right, one on his left. One man hurling insults, demanding to be saved, demanding Jesus to save himself. The other... knowing the crimes he had committed, knowing his punishment was just... this man said to Jesus "remember me when you come into your kingdom" Jesus assured him, "you will be with me in paradise" That man accepted the absolute need for a savior. He was truly repentant - this criminal for some reason, put the story together. The other man mocked God - demanded the right to his life. One man chose the road of self, the other... chose the road of salvation. This criminal noticed and this criminal repented - he turned to Jesus as his only hope - he came to the savior. There was nothing the repentent thief could do at that moment to save his life. He could not, by his own means or strength remove himself from that cross. No deed, no work... just faith. The only hope this man saw was the hope in Christ - and the only thing he could do was ask "remember me when you come into your kingdom" and Jesus replied "today you will be with me in paradise."
Yes dear friends, there is nothing we can do to earn our salavation, there is nothing we can do to win it... we cannot remove sin from ourselves - no it's only by the blood of Christ that our sin can be removed! Call on him - ask him to remember you! He will - that's a promise - not from me, but from God your Father!
Three crosses loom on Golgotha - one on the right, one on the left. But in the center is our Lord, bearing our sin, forgiving those who mocked him, saving not just the repentent thief, but all of us who call him our Savior - confess Christ! Hallelujah!
4 years ago