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Summary: Matthew shows 2 thieves taunting Christ. Luke records 1 thief taunting and the 2nd thief repenting. Surveying the words of Christ on the cross and how they may have impacted the repentant thief.

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Matt 27:35-44 (key = v. 44) Even the robbers [plural, both robbers] who were crucified with Him reviled Him …

Luke 23:35-43

I. QUESTION – RECONCILING THE TWO ACCOUNTS

A. Matthew 27 (Both Criminals Mocking); Luke 23 (One Criminal Mocking)

B. At First, Both Mocked, Then Afterward One Repented

1. If this is the case, what changed the heart of the one thief?

a. “thieves” – not just simple shoplifters or pickpockets

b. brutal & violent in their thievery – story of Good Samaritan

c. their thievery financed their zeal against Roman occupation

d. Romans were quick to put them to death

e. when Pilate put Barabbas before crowd – thought crowd would side for Jesus against Barabbas

f. underestimated anti-Rome sentiment – they chose Barabbas

g. thieves on the cross, likely hardened thugs with Barabbas

2. What did the one thief experience or see or hear?

II. SEVEN “LAST WORDS” [PHRASES] OF JESUS FROM THE CROSS

A. Among The 7, We Can Rule Out 4 Of The Phrases That We’re “Non-Impact” Phrases That Were At Time or After Time Of Thief’s Repentance

1. Luke 23:43 "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

*** spoken at time (not prior to) repentance of thief

2. Matt 27:46 / Mark 15:34 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

*** spoken at the 9th hour (12 noon) just before death

3. Jn 19:30 "It is finished" *** spoken just before his death

4. Luke 23:46 "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"

B. That Leaves Three (3) Phrases That Thief Heard Prior To His Repentance

III. THREE (3) IMPACT STATEMENTS OF JESUS

A. Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

1. At the cross – a mob mentality – easy for thief to get swept up into it

a. everyone hurling insults – priests soldiers, crowd

b. two thieves – joined in as well

2. Notice Jesus’ reaction – “Father, forgive them…”

a. forgive the soldiers, the priests, all who crucified, mocked

b. even forgive the two thieves

3. This is hugely counterintuitive – and the thief knew it

a. any normal person would react with anger – yet not Christ

b. at the height of suffering is height of divine love – forgiveness

4. The one thief heard this – caught his attention

B. John 19:28 "I thirst"

1. This = Jesus’ only human expression of His physical suffering.

a. soldier’s hygene sponge & sour wine – nasty!

b. miracle of cross = Jesus didn’t wipe everyone out – 10K angels

2. Other thief – “I thirst too” (not just physical thirst, but something more)

a. with the “father forgive them…” a thirst for forgiveness began

b. a thirst for innocence

3. I don’t think this was the first time this thief had met up with Jesus

a. up to a few weeks before, he had been roaming about free

b. practicing his diabolical business of highway robbery.

c. followed travelers – people with $$ - Passover pilgrims

d. led him to the synagogues, temple – heard Jesus


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