Summary: To show how great is the depth of God’s Son, who was willing to experience the pain of the cross for our benefit.
The Six Thieves of Calvary
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."
49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.
56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren’t you the Christ? 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, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Now, if I were to ask you to tell me about the thieves that were a part of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, I would dare say that most of you would tell me of the three. But did you know that there are actually six?
1. Judas Iscariot: The Thief Who Regretted
3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
5 "Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages."
6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Here’s what we know about Judas:
Chosen by Christ
Taught by Christ
Sent forth by Christ
Held a position of trust
Consumed with greed, he fell and betrayed the Lord
His betrayal turned to regret and suicide
Don’t underestimate Satan’s power
2. Barabbas: The Thief Who Was Replaced
Matt 27:15-17: Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
It was the custom to release a prisoner at Passover
Crowd was given an opportunity to choose between Jesus and Barabbas. Acts 3:14,15: “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”
- notorious prisoner
- tried, convicted, awaiting execution
- deserved to die
- his name means, “son of a father” Jesus: Son of the Father
Crowd was manipulated by the chief priest
What the choice revealed about the crowd
- more upset about the teachings, claims, miracles and influence of Jesus than the crimes of Barabbas
- detested the rebuker of sin more than the robber and murderer
- the custom-breaker was more despised than the law-breaker.
Jesus took Barabbas’ condemnation—his scourging, humiliation, death and sins. And He took our place as well.
3. The Thief With the Hardened Heart
Luke 23:39: “If you’re the Christ, why don’t you save yourself and us?”
Being crucified with thieves is a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.