Criminal On The Cross
I have never really considered myself as equal with a man on death row. In fact, many times when I hear or read about someone who is facing execution as a consequence for the crimes they’ve committed, I tend to think that death is what they deserve. However, spiritually speaking, I am no different than anyone else because we are all sinners and we all are enemies of God, and we have all fallen short of His glory, and we are all deserving of death. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23, 5:10a, 6:23).
Luke 23:39-43 reads, “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due rewards of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’”
Jesus in His infinite power and mercy and love forgave that man of his sins and gave him the free gift of paradise and eternal life. In that one act of mercy Jesus ultimately tells us that we are no different than any other human being when it comes believing in Him. Every single person on this planet is an equal to everyone else because of the grace and mercy of God, who, because of His great and everlasting love, has sent Jesus to die so that everyone might believe in Him, receive forgiveness of their sins, and live a life that brings glory to God (John 3:16).
We are saved just like the criminal on the cross and Jesus has promised that we will be with Him in paradise.