“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
As the crowd looked on, Jesus previously prayed the prayer, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” As He did so
- The crowd looked on
- The soldiers gambled and divided His garments
- The religious leaders sneered at Him
- The soldiers mocked Him
Next, there begin to be words from the two criminals. The Bible tells us one of the criminals said to Jesus, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” The other criminal responded, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then, that same criminal said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” That is when Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
What we see in the repentant thief is the spectacular moment in the life of an individual just before salvation. It is the moment when one stops trying to vindicate oneself and admits that he is utterly helpless and needs someone to help. The difference between the thief on the cross and the unbeliever today is this: The thief knew he was helpless. The unbeliever today does not realize how helpless and hopeless he is. The other thief represents a calloused unbeliever.
The important lesson for today? Jesus is always the way of salvation.
Regardless of where you are, what you are doing, or unable to do, Jesus is always the way of salvation. That was true for the repentant thief. It is true for us. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.