What the Conversion of the Criminal on the Cross Teaches Us About Salvation
Posted by David Wheaton | Saturday, April 7, 2012 | 8:00 am CT
“And he [the criminal crucified next to Jesus] was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’ And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise'” (Luke 23:42-43).
Jesus Christ was not crucified alone. On either side of Him were two criminals (i.e. violent robbers) who were being crucified as well.
Scripture says that the Roman soldiers, the religious Jewish leaders, and passers-by were mocking and hurling insults at Jesus as He was hanging on the cross … and the two criminals being crucified with Jesus were doing so as well.
And yet a short time later, Luke records in his gospel account that, suddenly and shockingly, one of the criminals made a complete about-face, rebuking the other one for mocking Jesus and asking Jesus to “remember me when You come in your kingdom.” Jesus responded by assuring the condemned criminal that he would die “today” and then would spend eternity in “Paradise” (i.e. heaven).
So what are we to make of this criminal’s “deathbed” conversion? What does it teach us about God’s terms of salvation? And what was it that changed the robber’s heart from mocking to believing?
This Easter Weekend on The Christian Worldview, we will discuss the conversion of the criminal on the cross and what it means for you and me today.