The Dying Thief's Hope
Pilate washed his hands in the sight of the people as
expressing his innocence of Jesus' death; then he gave the necessary
orders for the execution. The Roman Government expected him to be
absolutely just in respect to Roman citizens; dealings with others were to
Two thieves were crucified at the same time, one on
either side of Jesus, over whose head was charged the crime for which He
was crucified: "Jesus, the King of the Jews." Few deaths are so
painful as crucifixion.--Matthew 27:37.
One thief made sport of Jesus, saying, If you are God's
Son, the Messiah and King, prove it by coming down from the cross. If
Jesus had saved His life, He could not have become the King and Savior of
the world, because only by His death could the Death Sentence against Adam
and his race be met. Jesus died willingly a sacrificial death.
The other thief defended Jesus, saying that He had done
nothing amiss, whereas they were receiving a just penalty.
After this defense the penitent thief turned to Jesus,
saying, Lord, if You are a King and ever come into Your Kingdom, remember
this poor thief--do something for me! Jesus replied, Amen! i.e., So be
it--as you ask! Although I seem to have not a friend in Heaven or Earth,
yet I say unto you this dark day, You shall be with Me in Paradise. My
Kingdom will be established. Under its influence Earth will become a
Paradise. You shall be rewarded there.
The misplacement of the comma in our common English
Version has thrown us all astray. Evidently Jesus did not go to Paradise
that day, because Paradise is not yet established. Furthermore, three days
after, when He arose from the dead, He said to Mary, "I have not yet
ascended unto My Father." St.Peter tells us that He was dead and that
His soul was raised from the dead on the third day. (Acts 2:31.) "All
people" are to be blessed by Messiah's Kingdom, but penitence
prepares for quicker blessings and fewer "stripes."
The Redemption Price