The Two Thieves

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by wopik, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. wopik

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    Nov 5, 2002
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    We don't know their crimes, but we can presume they were terrible in Rome's eyes. They were suffering the ultimate fate: an excruciating, slow death nailed to a wooden tool of torture. One was crucified to the right and one to the left of Jesus, and along with the taunting rabble around them, they mocked the dying Christ and challenged him to come down (Matthew 27:39-44).

    But one of these malefactors had a change of heart. As the afternoon wore on and the torture increased, he began to recognize the majesty of the One who was crucified along side him. "Jesus," he said, "remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42).

    Now here is a marvelous thing. A man dying with him, who once reviled him, coming to understand that Jesus was going to have a kingdom. Even after three and one half years of working together, the Twelve neither believed nor understood this, for they all fled at the critical moment. Yet the dying thief could look at the just man next to him and went to him in faith.

    And, unlike the disciples, he did not ask for a position on his right hand or left (which is where these thieves were as they spoke), but only that the Lord would "remember" him.

    Too often as we read this story we argue over the placement of a comma or what is really meant by "paradise". By doing so, we lose the touching moment that it was.

    Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). We're told that he can understand the feelings of our infirmities. It is no stretch to say that Jesus at his hour of greatest need was discouraged. A friend had betrayed him. The disciples had all fled. The mob around him was mocking and cursing. Demons tormented him on
    every side. He was suffering an excruciating death.

    Yes, Jesus was discouraged. But out of this pandemonium came the humble voice of a dying thief whose words ring down to us two thousand years hence: "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." In his hour of greatest need, he received encouragement and affirmation from a dying man.

    Lenny C.

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