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.
Matt 27:35-44 (key = v. 44) Even the robbers [plural, both robbers] who were crucified with Him reviled Him …
I. QUESTION – RECONCILING THE TWO ACCOUNTS
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
*** 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