Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying,
“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
What a bold statement made by this criminal hanging on a cross, slow fading toward death. It gives a great deal of insight into the kind of person he was.
Because he didn’t exert his dwindling mental energy in preparing to meet his Maker.
He also didn’t speak one last utterance to loved ones hovered nearby, mourning his impending death.
Nope, this man chose to spend his last breaths hurling insults at the Man dying next to him.
But then again, he didn’t know who He was.
As my pastor pointed out in a sermon recently, had Jesus acquiesced to the thief’s demands, coming down from the cross and saving His own life, He could’ve never saved ours.
You see, the thief had it all wrong; Jesus’ power to save him wasn’t evidenced by coming down and saving Himself and the men next to Him. His power to save came from staying right where He was. Enduring the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). Conquering death by rising again on the third day, just as He had predicted.
Jesus had His eyes on the prize, steadfastly focused on eternity, refusing to cast longing glances toward the distractions and the temptations that sought to dissuade Him.
On the other hand, the thief’s perspective was completely off, focusing on right now instead of forever and ever.
I wonder how often you and I do the same thing.
We ask Him to take away our problems, forgetting how much His strength is magnified in our weaknesses.
We implore Him to ease the struggles, overlooking the growth that will surely result.
We beg for release from trials, forgetting how rich we’re being made for eternity.
Oh, my friends, let us not be like the criminal, willing to exchange eternal life for the temporal. Let’s be like the Christ, with eyes fixed on heaven and a heart fixed on eternity.