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The Two Thieves

The Two Thieves

Luke writes, in Luke 23:32-33; 39-41, And there were also two other, malefactors, led with Him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  And one of the malefactors which were hanged, railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

From this context, we see a picture of all of humanity unfold before us. We ourselves take one of these two viewpoints when it comes to the Son of God. Either we take the side of the blasphemous criminal, mocking the name of Jesus, or we defend Him. There is no middle ground.

These two crosses can be classified as the cross of rebellion and the cross of repentance. Which cross we bear is entirely up to us, but we must realize that there are consequences to each.

The cross of rebellion represents those who despise the name of Jesus. They do not want to submit to His authority. They have a will of their own, and want to exercise it. Such a person is above the need of God. Such things seem foolish, as well as those who would follow after such an idea. We often think of the atheist as being the rebellious, but if we look into Scripture, it is the children of God who are warned against the possibility of rebellion. Children at times have the "my way" attitude, and we, as the children of God, are no different. What we need to realize is that this is a spirit of rebellion, and will find no place within the kingdom of God.

The cross of repentance is the one we ought to bear. We don't know much at all about either thief, but there are some things that are quite evident about the second thief. First, we know that he was a sinner. This was the reason for which he was to die. His sins were so hideous among men that he was to die because of them.

Second, he realized that he was guilty of sin. That is where the problem lies in those who are rebellious. They are unwilling to admit to their own errors. They will not acknowledge the fact that they are sinners. But we see this thief acknowledging before the other criminal, before Jesus, and before anyone else who was within earshot that he was guilty, and justly punished for his deeds.

His desire was to turn from his sin. He may never have thought about it before, but now, as his life was ending, he realized the error of his way. He realized that he could not do it on his own. He realized that he needed a Savior.

In Luke 23:42 we read " And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. He realized he needed a Savior, and he realized that a Savior hung on the tree next to him. The next words which Luke records, as spoken by Jesus give the greatest promise to a hopeless sinner and Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)  Jesus had the power while on earth to forgive sin.  In Matthew 9:6 we read, But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.

What cross will you bear, the cross of rebellion or the cross of repentance?  There is no middle ground. This is an issue on which you cannot remain neutral. What words will you hear Jesus say to you on the judgment day?      Jimmy


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