Luke 23:39-43 “One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.””
Two men hung next to Christ; we’re familiar with the story and lessons of grace learnt from one. We often dismiss the man who died taunting Christ and we fail to recognize ourselves in his behavior.
Save thyself and us – Save our lives. Deliver us from the cross. This man did not seek for salvation truly; he asked not to be delivered from his sins; if he had, Jesus would also have heard him. Men often, in sickness and affliction, call upon God. They are earnest in prayer. They ask of God to save them, but it is only to save them from “temporal” death. It is not to be saved from their sins, and the consequence is, that when God “does” raise them up, they forget their promises, and live as they did before, as this robber “would” have done if Jesus had heard his prayer and delivered him from the cross.
Barnes’ Notes On The Bible
Grace is open and free to all who would accept it. We often abuse it. Some even point to the repentant thief and claim deathbed repentance as their ticket to Heaven. It is rare that deathbed repentance is genuine. Today’s passage isn’t just a spectacular display of God’s grace, it’s also a warning;
It is a single instance in Scripture; it should teach us to despair of none, and that none should despair of themselves; but lest it should be abused, it is contrasted with the awful state of the other thief, who died hardened in unbelief, though a crucified Saviour was so near him. Be sure that in general men die as they live.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
Dear Lord, I want to come to you genuinely in repentance. Please help me reflect this in my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen