The second statement Jesus speaks from the cross is not a prayer to the Father, but a promise of a salvation to a wretched sinner. The sovereign grace of almighty God poured to this undeserving sinner ran all over me as I prepared for this sermon. I realized that the saved thief was not the only criminal with Jesus on a cross. There were actually two thieves hanging there that day, and those two thieves represent all of the human race. Both of them were the same distance from Christ, both deserved the punishment they were experiencing, both were helpless and powerless to change their circumstances, both were desperate for salvation; but only one receives the promise of salvation, while the other receives the just wrath of God. And this is exactly where every single human being ever created finds themselves at some point, either a recipient of God's just wrath, or a recipient of God's grace.
So what did the thief who received salvation do in order to secure the promise of salvation? That's just it. That is what has wrecked me! He didn't do anything! God sovereignly chose to bestow grace upon him and supernaturally open the eyes of the thief to see the truth that it was indeed the King of the Jews hanging beside him. God supernaturally gave the thief the gift of faith, that he might believe and plead that Jesus would remember him.
If you're a believer in Jesus, this is the thief that symbolizes your spiritual situation. The Bible is clear that you were once dead in your trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), and you were a sinner (Rom. 3:23), deserving death (Rom. 6:23), but God (Eph. 2:4) sent his only Son (Jn. 3:16) while you were still a sinner (Rom. 5:8) that you too might be with Christ (Jn. 14:3) in Paradise (Lk. 23:43) and have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16), and the fact that you believe this is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). So as you go deeper in the Word this week, spend sometime dwelling and contemplating on this deep truth, and be prompted to praise His glorious name!
You can watch Sunday's sermon here.
Upcoming Text: John 19:26-27