Monday, February 15, 2010

"Good Thief, Bad Thief", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Luke 23:33 - "...they came to the place which is called The Skull [Latin: Calvary; Hebrew: Golgotha], there they crucified Him, and [along with] the criminals, one on the right and one on the left."

So much is contained within the facts of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ that one could make a lifetime of study and teaching from that alone.

One of the more intriguing scenarios out of the drama that unfolded that day is the placement of Jesus' cross.

The bible says He was placed between two "criminals", or "thieves".

Some ancient apocryphal literature even names the malefactors and their placement around Jesus as well.

It is believed that the thief on His left was Gestas (the bad thief), and on His right was Dysmas (the good thief).

The metaphorical insinuations are incredible!

It is as if God was directing a play and had the players situated according to a script.

We would not be far off in that understanding, as God knew exactly what was unfolding as well as how, why, and where.

When we visualize the crucifixion on Calvary (the Place of the Skull, also not without its own metaphorical value) we see a picture gallery of what our own relationship is with Jesus.

Jesus spoke in the gospels about either being for or against Him, or, being attached to Him or disengaged from Him, etc.

A huge portion of the gospel in a nutshell.

The Bad Thief mocked Jesus as He hung there bleeding out.

(39) "One of the criminals who was suspended kept railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ (the Messiah)? Rescue Yourself and us from death]!"

Gestas was not recognizing Jesus as Messiah. He was ridiculing His claims by mockingly challenging Jesus to save them all.

Dysmas on the other hand showed reverence.

(40) "But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? (41) And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing ] strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable]. (42) Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory!"

The Bad Thief showed nothing in the way of repentance and acceptance of Jesus.

The Good Thief has within his words all of the elements necessary to attain forgiveness from sin and secure salvation.

Jesus' reply to Dysmas the Good Thief is, "And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

At the start of the day Jesus was the only righteous Person being executed. The two thieves were both "bad thieves".

By the end of the day there were two righteous men on their way to Glory. Jesus was already going, but because of Dysmas' proclamation of faith he was getting to go with Him!

That's each and every one of us. At the start of the day we were both "bad thieves". In the end many of us are forgiven and reconciled.

We are on the side of something. There is no gray area, no DMZ. There is no fence to straddle while we make up our mind.

We are either for Jesus or against Him. One choice nullifies the other whatever the choice may be.

Be blessed today all of you "Good Thieves"!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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