One of my favorite gospel passages is unique to Luke. So moved am I by the compassion and mercy of our God and Savior that His reply to the Good Thief in Chapter 23: verses 39 to 43 never fails to bring tears to my eyes:
“Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” “He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”1
Although we have no detail about the Good Thief’s crimes, I’ve often reflected on how he must have felt when he heard Jesus’ forgiving words. Insight gleaned over the years has made me aware that at first glance many things are often not what they seem.
“I’m going to be with you …in heaven? You know what I’ve done. You know the sinful life I’ve led. You know all the people I’ve stolen from.”
“Yes, I know all that…but I’d like to hear in your own words how you came to know me”
“One night there was a lot of noise and commotion in the town. Word had gone out that your disciples were bringing sick people to you - some were blind and some couldn’t walk. I was curious. Many whom you cured I knew – I knew they had been sick or unable to walk, but then I saw them walking all by themselves and no longer sick.”2
“Was that the only time you saw me?”
“No, I followed you back to Capernaum. I wanted to see where you came from.”
“Tell me what you saw there.”
“I couldn’t believe my eyes…friends of a paralytic tried again and again to bring him to you, but the crowd wouldn’t let them pass. I watched the men climb up on a roof and lower their paralyzed friend. Then I saw him walk away – no longer paralyzed!”3
“Tell me about where you came from, Dismas.”
“Been fending for myself since …oh…as far back as I can remember...don’t recall much about my mother or father…they were around for a little while… don’t remember, though. Guess you know that was my brother…it broke my heart to hear him speak to you the way that he did. I tried so-o many times to persuade him to ask for forgiveness, but he wouldn’t listen. ”
“Dismas, I’m going to Emmaus to let my disciples know that I have risen. Why don’t you come and walk along with me?”
2 NAB Mk1:32-34
3 NAB Mk2:3-5
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.