“And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” -Luke 23:43 NKJV
Yesterday, we looked at the scripture from the perspective of Jesus; and we could view today’s scripture the same. We could look at Jesus being mocked and ridiculed after doing nothing wrong, and I am sure many would identify and testify that we have been there. However, there is another perspective that we will view today. While Jesus is hanging from the cross between two thieves, one begins to mock Him and the other defends Him. Isn’t that interesting? Both of the thieves were in the presence of Jesus, but each handled it differently. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but the question is how do you handle your encounter with Him?
A thief is one who, by definition, takes what is not his. So, it should not surprise anyone that a deserving thief would demand that Jesus save Himself and them too. The spirit of the thief does not stop with physical items; it will rob innocence and liberty in the name of selfish gain. And when the man encountered Jesus, he saw an opportunity for exploitation disguised as freedom instead of true liberty. But there was another thief. This thief encountered the presence of Jesus and was moved to self-examination and conviction. He knew what he had done, and he knew he deserved the consequences he received. As opposed to denying Jesus for his circumstance, he defends Him, knowing that Jesus was innocent of evildoing. Knowing that Jesus was perfect, he recognized and admitted his mistakes and asked Jesus to remember Him, to be mindful of Him.
As I stated before, we all have sinned and come short of God’s glory; but the question is which thief are you? Are you the one who sees God as an opportunity for selfish gain? Or are you the one who is able to humble yourself to Him, recognizing Who He is? Consider this: only one of the thieves received the promise of paradise that day.