“Two criminals” (v32)
- According to Matthew (and Mark) both of the thieves reviled Jesus.
- When he was first crucified, the second thief was just as depraved as the first.
- Whatever his other sins, the his worst sin was that he blasphemed God on the cross.
What He Heard and Saw
- The second thief was almost certainly Jewish and thus would have had some Old Testament education.
- He may have had some exposure to Jesus’ ministry prior to his arrest.
- He had some understanding of the promised Messiah.
“the Christ of God” (v35)
- Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, or God’s Chosen (or anointed) one.
- The Messiah fulfilled the three Old Testament anointed offices: Prophet, Priest, and King.
- As Prophet, the Messiah revealed the Father to his people.
- As Priest, the Messiah represented his people to the Father.
- As King, the Messiah ruled over all.
“Father, forgive them” (v34)
- You might expect the Messiah to pronounce a righteous judgment on his tormentors.
- Instead he did the least human-like (at least for fallen humans) thing he could have done: he had mercy.
How He Responded
- The second thief confessed that Jesus is God (v40).
- He acknowledged his own sin (“the due reward of our deeds” (v41)).
- He recognized that Jesus was perfectly righteous and had done nothing wrong (v41).
- He trusted Jesus to same him from his sin (“remember me” (v42)).
Our Continuing Response
- Responding to the gospel is not just how we are first saved; it is how we continue to be sanctified.
- We must continue to respond to Jesus as God.
- He is Lord.
- His glory is the most important thing.
- We must continue to confess of our sins.
- We must recognize his righteousness (and not our own) as the basis for our salvation.
- We must continue to trust in him for all things.