When we speak about the Lord’s crucifixion, there is one thing that is discussed the most, the thief on the right. Our Lord does not let go or abandon any sinner. He does not count our innumerable iniquities against us. He embraces everyone who truly repents and returns to Him.
1.He self evaluated himself: The thief on the right accepted that he was a sinner. 1 John 1:8-9, 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Like the Pharisees , we do like to self justify rather than accept out mistakes and sins. The thief fully believed that the Lord Jesus was capable of rescuing and giving him redemption from his sins. At the same time Judas Iscariot had the golden opportunity to be near Jesus and know Him personally. Instead of heaven he went to hell. The devil had ensnared him in his chains till his last breath. He did not select the path of redemption. Before suicide had he fallen at the feet of the Lord and sought forgiveness for his sins he would have received salvation and escaped the gruesome end. The thief on the right made use of the first and last opportunity while on the cross to seek forgiveness for his sins.
2.He believed that there is punishment for sins: Since early childhood, parents and teachers teach children that if they did a mistake there will be consequences/punishment. The consequence/punishment for sins is grave before the Lord. One loses his/her soul, as result of sins. The thief on the right understood this well. One person dies in his sin and receives its punishment. The other person sought forgiveness and received salvation. One person tried to self justify, whereas the other tried to correct him. He says to the Lord from the bottom of his heart,
Luke 23:40-43, But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The grace that the thief received from the Lord is something that each one of us desires for ourselves. Romans 8:1 ,Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,…This verse becomes the truth here. It is an even bigger sin than sinning to mock and ridicule the Son of God. Romans 7:15-16,15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. It is the truth that there is punishment for sin. The punishment for sin was taken up by the Lord on the cross.
3. He called upon the Lord and pleaded before Him: Romans 10:13,13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The thief on the cross showed us the practical way to do this. The way to his redemption was not because he was eligible or that he did good deeds. It was only because of the grace and compassion of the Lord. Blind Barthimaeus, shouted out to the Lord for His healing. All those who shouted for His help have never been returned empty-handed. Never will be, is the truth. Be it a sinner, diseased person, anyone who reaches the Holy presence will never be disappointed.
4.The Lord is never in a hurry: The Lord is ever vigilant to our prayers. Dear children of God, the truth is we are always in a rush and do not have time to sit down and pray. Our Lord is never in a hurry that would give a deaf ear to our pleadings. He is the one who understood the hunger of thousands and gave them food for their hunger. He is the one who felt broken seeing the tears of the widow at Nain. He is the one who cried along with Martha and Mary. He is the one who knew beforehand the need of the woman who touched the end of His cloak. He is not stone hearted to ignore the tears and pains of His children. He is the one who suffered for our sins. Romans 3:25, 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
1 John 2:2,2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
5. Our Lord does not ignore any sinner : The woman from Samaria was a sinner, but through Christ she became a witness for everyone. Jesus did not condemn the sinful woman as a sinner. He forgave her sins and said to her that her sins are forgiven, and not to sin again. Romans 5:8,8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Through the parable of the prodigal son He taught us about the love of our Father in Heaven. We also learnt that if one truly repents from his/her sins they will receive salvation. Micah 7:18-19, 18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
6.He believed in the resurrection and second coming of Christ: Every week in the church we proclaim :
O Lord, we remember your death, burial and resurrection, your ascension into heaven and your presence now with God the Father in glory and in power. We await your coming again to judge the world in righteousness and truth.
This the foundation of Christian faith, hope and trust.
The Lord does not abandon any sinner at any time. He does not condemn us even when others condemn us. He will call us down when we sit upon sycamore tree for just one look. He comes to us when we sit disheartened near a lake. While travelling he waits for us on the path to lead us to salvation. He respects those who respect Him when invited to a banquet. There is no sinner who is low before the Lord Jesus. There is no sin before Him that cannot be redeemed. The heaven rejoices in the repentance of one sinner rather than 100 holy people. In other words, the Lord rejoices in repentance of every sinner. Like the sinner let us also make use of the opportunity. This is the time for redemption. Let us all proclaim with our hearts, Son of God we can receive salvation only though you. Son of David, I am a sinner, have mercy on me. All are my transgressions, my transgressions.