Scripture tells us that Jesus was crucified along with two criminals. And we know that one of these men ultimately realized that Jesus truly was the son of God by addressing Him as Lord and asking Jesus to remember him when He entered His kingdom, while the other man mocked him along with the soldiers. But scripture also tells us in Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 that, at some point, both of these men mocked Jesus. So why did one of these criminals come to the truth of who Jesus was and the other did not? We must remember that this entire crucifixion took several hours. And these men were exposed to the ridicule and humiliation that Jesus endured. And they both were witness to Jesus’ supernatural response of love and forgiveness toward His tormentors. At some point in our lives in our fallen states, each of us comes to a place where we are introduced to the love and forgiveness that Jesus has to offer. And we then have a decision to make. We except Jesus or we reject him. The penitent criminal did at first mock Jesus – until he witnessed the overwhelming love Jesus had even toward those who crucified Him and His willingness to ask the Father to forgive them. He then acknowledged his guilt, acknowledged who Jesus was and asked for His mercy. Much in the same way we all did when we first accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The other criminal, being exposed to the very same Jesus, remain hard hearted and defiant. Each chose a different path for themselves. Maybe you are at that point of decision in your life. Jesus’ love and forgiveness are offered whole heartedly to you no matter what is in your past. How will you respond?
Matthew 27:44 (NKJV)
44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
Mark 15:32 (NKJV)
32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.
Luke 23:40-42 (NKJV)
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.