“The thief on the cross! The thief on the cross!” A Frenchman sitting at a flight terminal at O’Hare International Airport fell to his knees and clasped his hands together, uttering these words. Moments earlier, Bob, a man from our church, had explained the gospel to him, but he rejected it at first because he thought it was too easy.
The man indignantly said, “It’s too easy to believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for all of our sins and that he was buried and rose again on the third day.”
Bob tried to reason with the man, “But what about the thief on the cross?”
Just then, the truth of the gospel hit home, and the man realized the gospel could not possibly be reduced any further — if it could save the thief on the cross, then it could save him. There at the busy airport terminal, he put his trust in Christ.
Anyone who accuses a Christian of easy believism needs to revisit the account of Jesus and the thief on the cross. Our Lord did not give this crucified criminal a theology course. He did not instruct him to confess all of his sins or turn from them. The thief understood his sinful condition and Christ’s innocence. He also recognized Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God. When he requested, “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,” Jesus simply said, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The gospel doesn’t get any more basic than that. We need to keep the message simple, for that is how it was intended to be.
When you witness, do you make it easy for people to understand the gospel? Make certain they know Christ died for their sins and rose again. Does this sound too simple? Remember the thief on the cross — if he could be saved by this message, then so can others.
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Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.