The Thief

Luke 23:39-43
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
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.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”   NIV

Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God being crucified between two criminals. Matthew and Mark’s account of the story says that these men were thieves. They were caught, tried, and convicted. They deserved what they were getting. And then there is Jesus. The One who did nothing wrong, being crucified between the two guilty.

The first thief tells Jesus, “Save yourself and us.” Hold it! He had the penalty coming. HE got what he deserved. You know, “Do the crime; do the time.” The other thief simply asks Jesus to REMEMBER him. “Do the crime; do the time” applied to him as well, but as he looked at the face of the sinless Christ, he was not only reminded of his own crimes, but also of his lostness. To this man Jesus says, “Today you will be with Me.” We may not know what the thief’s name is, but we know what his new address is going to be!

Maybe you have felt like a “criminal.” Maybe you felt like all the bad things that have happened to you, you deserved. You know, “Do the crime; do the time.” You’re not expecting exoneration. You simply wanted someone to remember you…not forget your name. Not that you want or expect anything, but just to feel like you’re not forgotten. That you do exist.

Good news! When you, in all of your weakness and flaws and wrongdoing, turn to Christ, not only will He remember you, but He says, “Where I am, that’s where you will be also.” He doesn’t leave you out in the cold on your own.

Isa 49:16
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.   NIV

Remember, in Christ, you’re known, and you have a place.

Gene Pietrini