Over two thousand years ago, three crosses stood on a hill. The was called Golgotha, sometimes known as the “place of the Skull.” A hill known for one of the most humiliating and most painful ways to die. As three men hung on these crosses, all facing the same death penalty, three very different personalities came into view. Two men were thieves. They were sinners. One was righteous. He was perfect. Jesus Christ was put on that cross for the sins of other people.
The two thieves had very different views on Christ. One called to Christ and said, “If you really are the Christ, save yourself and us” (Lk. 23:39). He was only concerned with his own well-being. But the other, realizing the true power and the true sacrifice of Christ, said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation…we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this Man has done nothing wrong” (Lk. 23:40-41). The difference between the two thieves is that the second one understood that Jesus Christ was the only person who could save him.
Three separate crosses. Two sinners. Only one was saved. I hope many of us don’t fall into the same trap. We see Jesus and all He did, but we are only concerned for ourselves. I hope we are all like the second thief, who realizing that he was just a lowly sinner, asked Jesus to forgive him and remember him when Christ went into His kingdom.
Our attitude says a lot about who we are as a person. Some day we will be in the same position of these two thieves. Some day we will be face to face with Christ, begging for forgiveness from all our sins. I wonder what kinds of heart we will have. Will we look Jesus in the face and mock him, only wanting to justify ourselves? Or will we have a humbled heart, realizing that the only way to salvation is through the power of Jesus? John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Ask yourself right now, “what decisions have I made?” If I was hanging on a cross next to Jesus, which sinner would I be? A selfish and arrogant sinner? Or a humble and grateful sinner? I’m grateful that Jesus was on one of those crosses. I’m grateful that the only perfect man who ever walked this earth, hung in the middle of two sinners like me. I’m grateful that I have a Savior that I can be with in Paradise (Lk. 23:43).
— Kevin Harrington; Church of Christ, Queen Way