Summary: The gift of Salvation!
Looking at this story, there were many things that came to mind. The first thing that I did was thanked God that it was Jesus who hung on the cross. When I think of the torment and torture He endured without mumbling or whining, I have to chuckle. Because if it were one of us, we would have packed our bags long before the Garden of Gethsemene. So first of all everyone ought to take a pause for the cause and say "Thank God For Jesus."
The second thing that caused me to reflect was the first thief. Here he was on his last breath, yet able to throw out an insult. He was hanging up on a cross next to Jesus life seeping slowly away, and he had the audacity to say to Jesus, "Hah, if you really are who you say you are, why don’t you save yourself." Taunting Jesus - teasing Jesus - not yet believing in who Jesus was....but he didn’t stop there, in fact he dashed a hand full of salt on the open wound by saying, "and if you do save yourself - save us to." And I had to laugh because I was there once upon a time. Hoping to get into heaven because somebody prayed me in...got me in...snuck me in. You know how we were when our actions kept grandmother on her knees. When the places we went kept our mothers speaking in tongue. And some of us actually had the mindset that somebody was saved enough for both of us. Not taking responsibility of our own mistakes, but instead looking for somebody else to rectify our mess. Well, evidently this worked the other thiefs nerves which brings me to the last item that caught my attention.
He stopped the crook in the middle of his begging and told him, "we deserve what we got coming to us, but this man has done no wrong, this man should not be here." And than a miraculous thing takes place, in the Nick of Time, he believes and receives salvation. He looks at Jesus and says "Jesus, Savior, Redeemer, when ya get to the other side - remember me." That in itself allows us the understanding that this sinner had a change of heart - and he believed in heart that Jesus was the son of God and he confessed with his lips that he was going to rise - cuz he said when ya get home - remember me! Now I really don’t know what made this man have a nick of time tranformation. Because when you read Matthew’s account of this story, you find that this thief was in the midst of the crowd ridiculing Jesus. I don’t know what it was that made him change his mind at the nick of time. Maybe it was when Jesus walked through the jeering crowd, and when He was taunted and jeered he never said a mumbling word. I don’t know what made him change his mind at the nick of time. Maybe it was as they were being nailed to the cross and as he and the other thief yelled out for mercy, Jesus whispered "Father have mercy on them for they know not what they do." I don’t know what made him change his mind at the nick of time....maybe it was as he saw them hoist Jesus up into the air and he remembered what somebody told him that Jesus said "If I be lifted up from the earth, I’ll draw all men unto me." I really don’t know what it was,, maybe it was the compassion Jesus showed when he looked down and saw the agony on His mother’s face and gave her one of his disciples to take his place as a son..... I don’t know what it was, but in the nick of time Jesus granted this man a key to the gates of heaven. There is no mention of a long sermon that converted this man at the nick of time. There are no notations that state the church folk gathered and prayed him into salvation at the nick of time. There is no mention that he was taken to a room and taught to speak in tongue to receive salvation at the nick of time... there is no revelation that Jesus said "Hold Up, we gotta go to the river and baptize him first" in order for him to be saved at the nick of time... In fact this story helps us to embrace John 3:16 completely.... Because in the nick of time- this thief beleived this man to be the son of God. In the nick of time - he understood that Jesus was going to get up again... And in the nick of time....this thief received salvation.