Luke 23:33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

Luke 23:39 ¶ One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Luke 23:40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

Luke 23:41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Luke 23:42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:32–33,39–43 ESV Read More

You gotta wonder what kind of cruel, stupid, evil, wicked, cursed person would still be cursing and mocking Jesus even as they were being crucified right next to him. This guy has no where to go but dead, and he spent his last hours on earth in much the same way we presume he’s spending eternity: in tooth-clenched bitterness and despair.

Of course, that’s easy for me to say, I’ve celebrated Jesus’ resurrection about 45 Easters (or I had the chance to).

I know what happens on Sunday.

At the same time, there’s that other guy. He didn’t know what was going to happen on Sunday. He really didn’t care. He cared about today and he knew what was going to happen today. He knew that he was going to die and after that — something else.

They both knew about Jesus. The bully knew enough to taunt Jesus and mock Him. The defender knew enough to defend Jesus and then ask Him for help.

The defender knew that he deserved to die that day, and confessed it right at that moment. “We are receiving the just reward.” That guy knew and understood that any Sin was against a Holy God, and the only reward for was death.

Something else in him had a sense of justice toward speaking up for Jesus. In a moment where he too had nothing to lose, against all of the Roman soldiers, Jewish leaders, and possibly his friend on the other cross, he took the side of Jesus and defended Him.

He was the only person at Golgotha that was bold enough to say, loud enough for everyone to hear: “This man has done nothing wrong.”

Jesus Himself didn’t even say those words.

This weekend and the Easter Week following, let’s not be too quick to think that we’d be the good thief on the cross.

They were both guilty. They were both about to die. One of them chose a path of bitter mockery, and the other chose confession and dependence.

Jesus was right there with them and He promised one of them paradise.

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