Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley (and Mims Turley)

Lessons for life from the Bible – Day 2

The thieves crucified with our Lord

Bible text(s)

34Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

Luke 2:34-35GNBOpen in Bible reader

The prophecy of Simeon, regarding the baby Jesus, has echoed throughout the ages and was never more clearly proven than in the actions of the two thieves crucified alongside him.

We know little about the lives the thieves led. We do know they were criminals. Under Roman law, persons found guilty of certain heinous crimes were executed, in other words, permanently removed from society for the harm they had inflicted.

The justice system was not perfect. If the Roman official empowered to judge the case, was not impartial or bowed to external pressure, innocent prisoners could be convicted and executed.

From the conversation between the thieves it is clear that, unlike Jesus, they had been justly tried and sentenced to death for crimes they had committed. The attitude of the thieves, when they called to Jesus in their pain, were in direct contrast to each other.

The one hurled insults at him. “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39) The other thief remonstrated with him, “This man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And Jesus, in intense agony with the sins of the whole world on his shoulders, still took time to answer with a promise, “I will tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

One can never be neutral towards Jesus. If you are not for him, you are against him. The story of the thieves on the cross, reveals God’s great grace. Even if we only turn to him in our dying moments, he will respond to our plea.

The downside is, we do not know when we will die. Any one of us can die instantly in tragic circumstances. We may lay down to sleep and never wake up again. The time to turn to Jesus and claim God’s promise, is now.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
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