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  • Writer's pictureThe Bridge of Inspiration

Day 16 Humbled servant on the cross

How can a thief on a cross go from mocking and jeering to being promised a place in paradise with Jesus? How can someone change so quickly? So many things happened on that cross. It's hard to believe there could be such a change in one of the thieves, but there was. Have you ever met anyone that has been so changed by God?

Crucifixion was intended to be a gruesome spectacle: the most painful and humiliating death imaginable used to punish slaves, pirates, and enemies of the state. It was against the law to crucify a Roman citizen. In our scripture of Luke 23:35-43, Jesus is on the cross with two thieves. These two thieves were supposed to be with their notorious boss, Barabbas, but Jesus took his place by the people's choice. They had stolen, killed, and hurt many people.

Luke 23:35 says the people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is God's Messiah, the Chosen One." They said he saved others, so they understood that Jesus had done miracles and had saved people's lives in his ministry. Yet they wanted him crucified. I mean, everyone was mocking Jesus, as it says in Matthew 27:41. In the same way, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders mocked him. As well as the thieves next to him. Only Matthew talks about the two thieves mocking Jesus. Because in Luke 23:40-43 he talks about the one thief rebuking the other. But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

Why did that thief go from mocking Jesus to defending him? What changed for him? Was it all he heard while the others were mocking and jeering at Jesus? It all happened while he was on the cross. He didn't have days or months to talk to someone, the Bible wasn't written yet, and there was no baptism, no special church service. But something in this man changed to make him realize who Jesus was.

Let's go back to Matthew 16:15-17 where Jesus asked the disciples who do people say I am, "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon Son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

In the same way, the man on the cross says who Jesus is. These things were not revealed to him by man; it was by our Father in heaven. When this man humbled himself, defended Jesus, and said we are getting what we deserve, he is not guilty. His heart, at the moment, was open to God. When we humble ourselves to the Lord, many things can be revealed to us; it's a connection of understanding beyond any imagination. And when he did that, Jesus accepted him for it. The thief humbly says to Jesus in Luke 23:42, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

Jesus accepted him right there. Jesus saw his heart at that moment and knew God was with him through this man. He was saying things that only someone touched by God would say. Like it says in James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Whether you are a thief on a cross or someone searching for answers today. We must humble ourselves to open our hearts so God can come in and change our lives forever. Then we, too, someday, will be with Jesus in paradise.

Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you, Lord, for your son and for your Word. Thank you for giving us a way to connect with you. Your ways are so much higher than our ways, but you guide us just the same. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Thank you, Jesus, for being our light in a sometimes very dark path. We love you, Lord. In Jesus Holy name. Amen.

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