Today’s Scripture: And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Luke 23:33

As we look at Calvary, we see the first thief on his cross. This is the cross of REJECTION. This thief rejected Christ as the Messiah and died that day without salvation. He had heard about the miracles of Jesus, but rather than acknowledging Him as the Savior, he mocked and tested Him by telling Him, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” (Luke 23:39)

On the second cross, hung another thief who was condemned to die that day. This is the cross of REPENTANCE. This thief saw that Jesus was not a sinner like the two of them, but that He was innocent. He rebuked the first thief for telling Jesus to save them as well because, “for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” (Luke 23:41) He recognized that the man who hung beside him was not guilty, but was in fact, the Messiah. He recognized that death would not conquer Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) The thief saw that even though Jesus hung beside him dying on the cross, He would have a kingdom and could save him.

Christ hung dying for our sins in the middle. This is the cross of REDEMPTION. We would have no hope of Heaven without Christ’s death. The wages of sin is death, separation from God. In order to pay for our sin, we must spend eternity in Hell. God loves us so much He sent His son, Jesus, to die for us. When Jesus hung on that cross, He took our sins upon Him which caused the Father to turn away from His Son. That is why Jesus said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Because Jesus bore our sins, His fellowship with the Father was broken. He paid the price for our sins so that we could be with Him in Heaven.

You have a decision to make just as the two thieves by His sides did. Will you respond in belief or unbelief? Will you recognize Christ as the Messiah or reject His offer? The first thief rejected Him; the second realized there was nothing he could do to save himself, so he called on the One who could. His belief was answered by Christ saying, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Christ promised salvation the moment the thief put his trust in Him to save him.

All we have to do is accept the payment that He made for our sins, and we too, can have His promise of life in Heaven. If you have never trusted in Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins, do it now. If you have, share it with someone today.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder