Thieves cost us quite a bit of money. Not because of what they’ve actually stolen from us, but because of all we spend trying to keep our belongings secure. If it wasn’t for thieves, we wouldn’t worry about locks, safes, security lights, and watch dogs. Stealing is forbidden: by God (Exodus 20:15) and by the laws of the land. Yet, despite the laws, we fear thieves, and we despise their efforts to rob us.
How surprising then, that a thief in the Bible gives us a picture of God’s amazing grace and what saving faith looks like. When Jesus was crucified, there were two thieves who were also crucified next to Him, “one on His right and one on His left” (Luke 23:33).
At first both criminals mocked Jesus (Matthew 27:44). But by and by, one of the thieves realized the Man dying next to him was unlike any other. As Peter remembers, “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten;” instead, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:23-24).
Suddenly one of the robbers recognized that he and his friend were sinners, receiving the judgment they deserved, “but this Man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). And in faith–believing Jesus was the Son of God–the thief cries out, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (v. 42).
What Jesus says next fills my heart with joy: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (v. 43). There were no good works to perform. No religious duties required. The criminal was saved by grace alone through his faith in Christ alone.
Jesus will indeed save all sinners who put their trust in Him. Take it from a thief.