Summary: The only case in biblical history of death bed salvation is rendered to a crook on a cross.
A Sinner’s Prayer
Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
1 Cor 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
As we go to Calvary in the Spirit, let us gather around the foot of the cross on Golgotha’s Hill. We can watch and listen to the activity going on while three men are dying on crosses. Much concentration is placed on the man in the middle. Soldiers gamble for his clothes, a few weep for him, and a mass majority hurl insults at him. Of the man on the right and the man on the left, not much is said of them or for them. They are insignificant to the onlookers. No one is said to weep for them, or even care whether they lived or died. Outcasts dismembered from society, and no good for nothings. They share the same fate, in the same helpless condition, yet earlier on, although not recorded by Luke, but captured by Matthew and Mark, it is stated that they shared in hurling insults at the man in the middle.
Matt 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Mark 15:32b And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
Let us tune out the onlooker’s and gaze at the scenery of the cross. I know its difficult, but please take a look at the bloody mass of flesh, in the center hanging on a cross. His face is indistinguishable right now, but try and get a glimpse of the torture he has been through. Up all night long, from judgement hall to judgement hall, beaten, punched, and spit upon. His body is a testimony of the pain and torture he has received.
Hell must have been having a party. He preached his last message. Opened his last set of blinded eyes. Served his last meal and raised his last dead person to life.
But Hell never counted on The Sinner’s Prayer. It wasn’t in the scheme. It wasn’t in the plan. His fate was sealed. He was a sure candidate for Hell.
In the midst of Jesus final hour. As dark as it was, a light shown as one more sheep straggled into the fold. In the midst of His sorrow, in the midst of His pain, on his way through deaths door, he heard in the distance the bleating of a lost lamb. He heard a sinner’s prayer.
In our text, when it seems that everyone has turned away, a crook on a cross places himself between Jesus and his accusers. It is a shock to the other thief. It is a shock to the onlookers, as this man rises to the side of defense for Jesus. No one else said anything in his dyeing hour in defense. One of his diciples denyed him, one betrayed Him, the other’s ran off and left Him. Those that should have been witnesses Evang. Exum through the thick and the thin, when things got thick, they thinned right out. But here is a man whom has taken the last step down the spiral staircase of failure. One crime after another. One rejection after another. Disowned no doubt by family, and he has no friends. He can’t hide who he is. He is a disgrace to society, no fancy jargon or impressive resume’. No awards, no honors, and no great achievements. Yet he for some reason of which we don’t know but can speculate has a change of mind. The angels weep and the demons are stricken with awe.