Encouragement for your daily walk with God
This weekend I reviewed some of the studies I did in preparation for the Easter service at the church I pastor. Before filing it away for future thought, I ran across some comments I wrote about Jesus and the criminals He was crucified with—one on each side of His cross.
At first, both thieves joined the mocking crowd in reviling Jesus [Mark 15.32]. However, there was a change of heart in one of them as time passed. We don’t know what took place for that to happen, but we have Luke’s account telling us that he grasped Christ’s sinlessness [Luke 23.40-41] and then he repented - not in the way we normally think about it, but by saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (23.42). I truly believe Jesus honored that man’s request.
The thief’s conversion was an extraordinary circumstance. Certainly there was nothing favorable about Jesus at the moment. From an earthly point of view, He was merely another criminal getting the punishment He deserved. When the thief cried out for help, no one was there to say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” [John 1.29]. No one said, “Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord” [Acts 3.19]. No one explained the 4 Spiritual Laws or asked the two questions from Evangelism Explosion.
So what happened that day? God was sovereignly at work in redemption. There was neither human cleverness, nor a well-crafted message; just God’s intervening grace. The Spirit of God enlightened the thief’s understanding about Jesus and the significance of His death. And He did it under the most dreadful of circumstances, crucifixion.
Here’s the point: circumstances are never too adverse, nor the hour too late, to offer the gospel of Christ to someone.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3.9