Page 8 - August 2022 - Truth & Tidings
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Although they shared so much in com-  he listened to Jesus’ prophecy (vv27-31),
        mon, there was one crucial difference that   which was an announcement of doom
        determined their destinies for eternity. But   for this criminal’s fellow countrymen. No
        we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The story   doubt, he heard the Savior pray for His ex-
        is really one of three cries, for the cries of   ecutioners – “Father, forgive them” (v34).
        the two criminals set up Jesus’ second cry   He likely was impressed by Jesus’ meek-
        from the cross.                       ness and self-control, for though He was
                                              mocked by so many, He didn’t respond
        A Cry of Blasphemy                    in kind (1Pe 2:23). Something turned this
          “And one of the malefactors which were   man’s thinking about Jesus of Nazareth.
        hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be   In fact, this felon saw some things about
        Christ, save thyself and us” (v39). The   Christ that others had missed.
        word “railed” in the Greek is blasphemeo.   For one, he saw righteousness in Jesus.
        Some of the last words on this robber’s   He not only acknowledged his own guilt,
        lips before slipping into hell were words   but Christ’s innocence: “We have been
        of blasphemy. His remark was yet another   condemned justly, because we are getting
        dig at Jesus. But just in case, he decided   what we deserve for what we have done,
        to selfishly add “and us” to his salvation   but this man has done nothing wrong”
        request. The fact that he used the order   (v41 ISV). He had seen enough to conclude
        “save thyself and us” tells us that he was   that Jesus of Nazareth had been unjustly
        only thinking about physical salvation,   sentenced to die. In this, he found himself
        not the salvation of his soul. He’d be happy   in agreement with Pilate, Pilate’s wife and
        to see Jesus come down from the cross so   Herod, but he thankfully grasped far more
        that Jesus could rescue him. But he didn’t   about Christ than the three of them.
        believe it would or could happen.       Additionally, he saw royalty in Jesus, for
          His  blasphemy  was  met  with  a  re-  he prayed that he might be remembered
        buke, but not from Christ. “But the other   when Jesus would come into His kingdom
        [criminal] rebuked him, saying, ‘Don’t you   (v42). He believed the title above Jesus’
        fear God, since you are under the same   head – “This is the King of the Jews”
        sentence of condemnation?’” (v40 NET).   (v38). Pilate’s title, though crafted to anger
        How could he be so cavalier in the face of   the Jewish leaders, may have been used
        death? He ought to be more afraid of the   as a link in a chain to bring this man to
        God he was about to meet.             salvation.
          But this second offender’s cry contained   We might also conclude that he saw
        not only a rebuke but a sincere confession   resurrection in Jesus. Dead men don’t have
        of his own guilt and a remarkable under-  kingdoms. To ordinary, unenlightened
        standing of who Jesus really was.     eyes, all anyone could expect Jesus to
                                              receive was a grave, certainly not a king-
        A Cry of Faith                        dom. But somehow, this criminal knew
          Something changed in the mind of this   that the cross would not be the end for
        man. As noted before, he, like so many   Jesus Christ. Somehow and at some point
        others, took part in the mockery of the   in  time  He  would  rise  from  the  dead
        Lord Jesus. But think about what this   and enter into His kingdom. Again, if he
        malefactor may have witnessed. Perhaps   was a Jew with a knowledge of the Old

        232 TRUTH kTidings   August  2022
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