Do you know the most compelling evidence to me of who we are in Christ? He is unnamed. We’re not exactly sure the crime he committed. We just know that it wasn’t by accident that he was scheduled to be executed the same day Jesus was crucified. Most executions were not attended by such crowds. Most crucifixions didn’t cause such a stir. But for this unnamed criminal, his most embarrassing moment became his most exhilarating. His most confining moment became his most liberating. He was crucified…and rightly so. He was guilty of crimes.
Jesus was crucified right beside him…and for no good reason. He was falsely accused.(The criminal beside Jesus: Photo by Chandler Frisbee)
This unnamed criminal, hanging naked, bleeding, writhing in pain on the cross, saw something in Jesus that the Romans soldiers couldn’t see. He saw something in Jesus that the Jewish leaders couldn’t see. He saw something in Jesus that the other thief couldn’t see. He also saw his sinful self.
Do you know what happened? That day, the naked, destitute, friendless, guilty criminal became a saint. What grace from the cross when Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” He had no time to join the church, to time to mend the wrongs he had done, no time to make restitution. He didn’t have to. He was crucified with Jesus…literally…and he was crucified with Jesus spiritually. He had a new relationship.
From criminal to citizen. From outcast to in. From a thief to a saint. In just one moment.
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, that’s what happened to you.
I know. It’s scandalous. Grace is.
Are you living like it?
That’s what happened to you. I know. It’s scandalous. Grace is. Are you living like it?