How would you like to be credited in a movie only as “the other criminal?” Not even “Criminal number one,” but only “the other criminal.” How would you like to be known in LIFE only as “the other criminal?”
Have you given up on salvation for someone? Maybe even yourself? Then think about “the other criminal” in this story. Think about what his life must have been like. He admits that he deserves to be hanging on the cross next to Jesus. What a seemingly unsalvageable mess his life must have been for him to admit that. What could we possibly learn about the kingdom from this kind of man?
And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
What can we learn from him? Among other things, that true repentance—realizing that we are guilty compared to Jesus—and calling on Him even if it’s our last moment on Earth, means we can join Jesus in His kingdom. This man may only be known as “the other criminal,” but he’s with Jesus today.
What do you think about that? What will your kingdom statement be today? Every time you find yourself worrying, pray about your worry and then think of your kingdom statement instead.
*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.