Summary: A sermon to adults on the conversation between Jesus and the two thieves on the cross.

A Conversation from the Cross

Luke 23:39-43

Imagine in your mind these two thieves hanging on the cross. They pull up with their arms and push down with their feet to get each breath. Each time the flesh tears a little more, more blood vessels are torn open, and more blood flows down the cross where it begins to pool at the bottom. There is no escape. Their fate is sealed. Eventually, they will either lose strength from the loss of blood and suffocate, or the Roman soldiers will come along with an iron club and shatter the leg bones to speed up death.

This morning I want to look at what these two thieves and Christ had to say as they hung there on each side of Jesus. And as hard as it may be, I want each of us to put ourselves there that day, not as one of the Roman guards, not as one of the spectators, but as one of these two thieves. Let’s face it, these two thieves were there for crimes they had committed, but Christ was there for crimes that you and I have committed. So in reality, we deserve the middle cross. It was for my sins Christ bled and died. It was for your sins Christ bled and died.


(I) Let's look at what the first thief said to Christ “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” He “RAILED” against Christ.

This guy knew who Jesus was. He had heard of the miracles that Christ had done. The dumb talked, the deaf heard, the blind saw, the lame walked, the dead were raised, and evil spirits were cast out. He was being crucified next to a famous person. Jesus of Nazareth.

I'm trying to get my mind around this guy.

Did he just not believe? Maybe he hadn’t seen the miracles in person. Maybe he had lost all faith in the religious establishment of the day. The Jewish religion was so corrupt and he didn’t want anything to do with anything religious..

Maybe he had had a bad childhood. Maybe his parents were abusive to him, or maybe he was an orphan. I don’t know.

Maybe he thought he would be the one set free. “Why Barabus deserves death more than I do.” GO INTO IT.......That’s why Barabus was picked so the people would choose Jesus instead of a no-good scoundrel like Barabus. The plan of Pilate backfired. They chose Barabus.

Maybe he had thought his good outweighed his bad. I really don’t know what was going through this man’s mind but I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that as he neared the end of his life he “railed” on Christ. Definition of rail- to yell and curse bitterly. He mocked Him. He cursed Him. He yelled and screamed at Christ. His one and only way of escape, he railed at. He was simply doing what the chief priest, scribes, and pharisees had done according to Matthew 27.

I tell you what, some of the things going on today I don’t understand. I just don’t get it. I try to get my mind around these things and it just won’t click.

You have more suicides. More divorces. More murders. More rapes. Mass school shootings. More despair. And what do people do today. They “rail” against the God of this universe. Their ONLY hope. Their only way of escape.

Some folks want to put up a monument of the ten commandments down at the state capitol. What happens, people “rail” against it.

A valedictorian wants to mention God and pray in his or her’s graduation speech. The school won’t allow it.

Separation of Church and state. (Not in our constitution)

They want a God free life all the while they worship themselves as god. (humanism)

People are scared the A.C.L.U. will sue if we allow that.

Folks, we are nearing the end of our time here on earth. In a hundred years either Christ will have returned or we’ll all be dead. Jesus Christ is your only way of escape. I don’t know what kind of circumstances you’ve had to face in life.

Maybe you’ve heard all about Jesus Christ, but you just don’t believe.

Maybe your fed up with the religious community as a whole. Too many hypocrites.

Maybe you had some rough things happen in your life and just to be honest, you’re mad at God.

Maybe you think your good will outweigh your bad.

Maybe it just don’t seem fair that God would let just anybody into heaven.

Like I said, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but it won’t do any good to rail at; to curse, yell at, or mock the God of this universe.

(II) Now let's look at what the second thief said to the first. Read verse 40, 41 The other thief rebuked the first “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” “And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss.”

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Mike Brenneman

commented on Mar 5, 2021

Mitchell. Noticed your comment on Peter Mead's article and that you also have contributed sermons. I was greatly blessed to read this one. Thank-you for putting significant thought into each point, some of which jumped out at me for the first time. Blessings!

Mitchell Leonard

commented on Mar 8, 2021

Thank you for your kind words, they are an encouragement to me. Blessings to you and have a great day. Mitch

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