In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Matthew 27:44 NIV)
Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Mark 15:32b NIV)
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." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." (Luke 23:40-42 NIV)
As I ponder over the Bible verses quoted above, I often wonder how the thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus dramatically change from being cynical to a convert. What did Jesus do at the cross that so amazingly change the criminal within such a short span of time?
I believe the catalyst is in this verse:
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34a NIV)
The repented criminal must have observed Jesus long enough to realize He is no ordinary man. No one on earth who is about to die will ever ask God to forgive the very people who want Him dead, unless He is more than a man – the Son of God.
The Bible says:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 NIV)
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 NIV)
So that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21 NIV)
The sole purpose of Jesus’ death on the cross is to save mankind, and to set them free from sin and slavery that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
If you have yet to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him by prayer to come into your heart now, and He will give you eternal life.