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Summary: Both thieves on the cross insulted Jesus... to begin with. Why did the 2nd thief refuse to accept the love and promises of Christ? What drove him to curse Jesus even as he was dying?

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When the police arrest a suspect – what’s the first thing they are required by law to do?

That’s right - “read him his rights”. "You have a right to remain silent ..." etc.

What’s the official name for that process?

The Miranda Warning.

When a suspect has been read his rights they often say he’s been “Mirandized”

Few people realize that the Miranda warning originated from a Supreme Court ruling in 1966. Ernesto Miranda had been in and out of the Arizona State juvenile courts for more than a decade. He had a long record that included convictions for armed robbery assault, burglary, and attempted rape. And Police also believed that he was a sexual predator.

He was arrested on March 13, 63, and charged with stealing $8 from a Phoenix resident. But police were actually interested in him in regard to a rape that had occurred in which he was considered the prime suspect. They questioned him for two hours and bluffed Miranda suggesting that a woman who’d been assaulted 11 days earlier - had picked him out of a line up. He signed a written confession, and rec’d a sentence of 20 to 30 years for the kidnapping and rape of the 18 year old mildly mentally retarded woman.

His lawyers attempted to get the conviction overturned arguing that Miranda had never been informed of his constitutional rights. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in a 5 to 4 decision the court agreed, and the conviction was overturned on June 13, 1966.

Miranda was eventually tried a second time, convicted of the crime, went to prison, and served almost 10 years total in prison. He was paroled in December of 1972.

On January 31, 1976, Miranda got into a fight in a tavern in Phoenix over a $3 bet. When he went to the bathroom to get the blood off of his hands he was stabbed to death. Police arrested a suspect who chose to exercise his "Miranda rights" and was released.

Ernesto Miranda was 34 years old when he died. (Richard Ellis)

APPLY: Ernesto Miranda wasn’t a very nice man.

Throughout his life he’d been involved with armed robbery, assault, burglary, and attempted rape. He died as he lived… a violent man.

And some might say that in his death, Miranda only received what he deserved.

When Jesus was crucified he was put to death between two thieves.

They were guilty men… one of them said as much.

As criminals they were not Mirandized… they were simply being put to death.

These were violent men.

They preyed on the innocent.

They assaulted the defenseless.

They took from the rich… and the poor… and gave to themselves.

Some scholars believe they were part of a gang run by a violent man named Barabbas (he’d been scheduled to be executed that day). Of course we know the name Barabbas from the fact that Pontius Pilate attempted to save Jesus from execution by offering to free either He or Barabbas - fully believing that Barabbas’ reputation was so vile the crowds would definitely prefer to have Jesus released instead of him.

But the crowds preferred to see Jesus die.

And so, on Calvary that day Jesus shared His fate with two thieves who faced the penalty for their sins - death on a cross.


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