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[33] And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there; and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. [34] And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots. [35]And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God.

[36] And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, [37] And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. [38] And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [39] And one of those robbers, who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [40] But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?

[41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. [42] And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. [43] And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.  Luke 23:33-43


This is one of the readings for Passion/Palm Sunday.  It also happens to be one of my favorite scriptures of an encounter with Christ.  I relate to the crowd and both of the thieves.

You see, I have doubted Christ’s divinity.  I was one of those in the crowd that mocked Him.  I was hyper-critical of Christians and their faith.

I have been the first thief.  I have made demands of Christ to save me.  From myself, my sins, my problems, my insecurities, and my faults- I have demanded that Christ take them away…with a wave of His hand.

Rarely, (if ever) have I been the second thief.  I have rarely accepted responsibility for my actions.  I have rarely accepted the consequences of my own actions as just or appropriate.  Even rarer, have I displayed the level of faith that the second thief had.  In spite of his sin, nakedness, and stuff, he has the courage to cling to Jesus at the very end…hoping for redemption.

I can learn a lot from this thief.