By: Claire Ryan
I want you to imagine with me for a moment.
Think about Jesus. His appearance; olive skin, carpenter hands, and lowly apparel. Think about His life. Other than being born of a virgin and living in perfection, He likely had a similar upbringing to some of us. He was raised in simplicity by two God-fearing earthly parents. He had multiple siblings and a strong work ethic. Think about His mission. Three years of specified ministry in which He proclaimed to be God and performed great miracles.
Now, think about His death. Bloodied hands, whip-lined back, a crown of thorns, his body hanging on a cross. Think of all the torture and ridicule that He endured along the road to the cross. The entire reason behind His birth, accomplished in His death.
Mocked, beaten, whipped, spit on, cursed, humiliated—Yet, Jesus pressed on.
Why go through that suffering and still press on?
The reason is found in Romans 5:8-9: God showed His love for us, dying for our sins. Through His blood, we can be saved. Hebrews 5 states that, “He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” Jesus pressed on in the misery knowing through His death on the cross a greater glory awaited Him and any who accepted Him.
Think about the thief on the cross; he made it worthwhile for Jesus. That thief made Jesus’ ministry useful, His life successful, and His death invaluable.
I am the thief.
I have failed to live by His ways, fallen short of His glory, and dropped so low in my own sin I have doubted His mercy and grace for my life. I have questioned Him, like Sarah. Denied Him, like Peter. Doubted Him, like Thomas.
Yet, His mercy is all-sufficient; His grace is never ending. He bore the weight of the cross so I would not have to. He carried my sin up that hill to Calvary.
I am the thief. But He paid my pardon. And, when I humbly admit my desire, my need for His forgiveness in my life, that grace is a continual stream flowing over me daily.
We are all the thief on the cross. But when we call upon Him like that thief, He is faithful to remember us in His Kingdom.