“Remember, he [the thief on the cross] was crucified. It was a crucified man trusting in a crucified Christ. Oh, when our frame is racked with torture, when the tenderest nerves are pained, when our body is hung up to die by we know not what great length of torment, then to forget the present and live in the future is a grand achievement of faith! While dying, to turn your eye to another dying at your side and trust your soul with Him is very marvelous faith.” – Charles Spurgeon, The Power of the Cross of Christ
What a stunning example of faith we find in this beaten and battered thief. When the thief looked upon Jesus, he saw a man who looked much like himself. He saw a man covered in blood, beaten beyond recognition, and groaning with the pangs of death. He saw a man who had been abused by Roman soldiers, mocked by the Pharisees, and deserted by His disciples. From external appearances, the thief had no reason to trust in Jesus.
Yet the thief recognized that Jesus was his only hope. The thief saw Jesus hanging from the cross, blood dripping from His brow, completely drained of all strength, and realized, “I need this man.”
What an example of faith for us! We know the end of the story. Christ is risen. He has beaten death, triumphed over sin and the grave, and now reigns from His throne. Christ is on our side, eager to save those who come to Him, and eager to dispense grace to us in our time of need. In Christ is all power, all grace, all mercy, all kindness, and all strength. Why would we ever doubt our Savior? How can we not trust Him?
Let us be provoked by the dying thief who trust in the dying Savior. The thief trusted when all he could see was a dying Jesus. We know the living Jesus.
Originally published July, 2007.