Summary: Would you think it unusual if a man on death row was saved while the lethal injection chemicals were dripping into his I.V.? The thief on the cross next to Jesus began his last day in the service of Satan, but ended it in Paradise with God!
BREAKFAST WITH THE DEVIL, SUPPER WITH THE SAVIOR
Mt. 27:38-43; LK. 23:39-43
1. Jennifer Johnson told how her Dad began teaching business classes at a local prison through a community college. On his first night of class, he started a chapter on banking.
2. During the course of his lecture, the subject of ATMs came up, and he mentioned that, on average, most machines contain only about $1,500 at a given time.
3. Just then a man in the back raised his hand. "I'm not trying to be disrespectful," he told my father, "but the machine I robbed had about $5,000 in it."
4. We’re going to look at two criminals today and see what they can show us.
38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. 39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Matt. 27:38-43.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43.
1. This morning we're looking at someone who's probably the most unusual person to ever make it into heaven.
2. Wouldn't you think it remarkable if a chaplain were to lead an inmate to Christ, who was in the TDCJ (prison) death house, strapped down to a gurney and the I.V. bag was already dripping the poison of the lethal injection? Such is the case of this story.
3. Also, we would find it unusual to discover one in heaven who had never attended church, never been baptized, and never given anything in the offering, and in fact, his last earthly activity had been stealing. But we do!
4. This man began the last day of his life in the service of Satan, but ended that day in Paradise with God! How could this happen? Find out as we look at this message, “Breakfast with the Devil, Supper with the Savior.”
I. THE THIEF’S PLACE OF SALVATION
A. THE CRUCIFIXION
1. We find ourselves in the horrible drama of the crucifixion. Jesus has been betrayed. The Romans have beaten Him and are leading Him away to be crucified with two criminals.
2. A huge mob swirled around the Roman death squad, as they, to the beat of the Roman drums, advanced to the place called “Cranium,” translated "Skull" (Mt. 27:33).
3. The condemned men, at this horrible place of death, faced the sharpest agony of pain: nails were driven with cruel strokes by hammers through quivering flesh. Next, nameless agony engulfed the men as they were hoisted heavenward.
4. As Jesus was lifted up, all hell began to reverberate with loud celebrations. Even on the earthly plane, all the various stratas of people present began to heckle Jesus: the Rulers, the Roman soldiers, and even one of the crucified thieves!
5. If you've ever been insulted in front of a crowd, you know how humiliating it can be. But imagine how terrible if, while you’re dying, your enemies were shouting insults and laughing at you!
B. SNATCHING VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT
1. A more demonic glee is hard to envision.
2. But in the middle of what seemed like Satan's greatest triumph, Christ worked yet another miracle.
3. One of the thieves crucified beside Him "believed" and escaped hell’s clutches. Jesus robbed hell of one more victim!
II. THE DYING THIEF’S REMARKABLE FAITH
Even at this late hour, the destiny of the two thieves was not yet unchangeable. Their destiny hung in the balance, depending on their response to Jesus.
A. HOW THE THIEF CAME TO FAITH IN CHRIST [it's possible he’d never met/heard Christ except for the Final Six Hours.]
1. HEARD WOMEN WEEP (Vs. 27-31). He heard Jesus’ selfless response to the women who wept for Him(vs 28). He wondered in himself whether anyone would ever weep for him.