And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. Matthew 27:44 ESV
Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. Mark 15:32 ESV
I read these scriptures the other day. I hadn’t heard this aspect of the Crucifixion story expressed in a while. Both of the thieves that were crucified with Christ railed (or blasphemed) at Him at the outset.
If you think about it, that makes sense. Think about what rumors they must have heard in prison. Imagine the things they overheard prison guards saying as they talked amongst themselves. And while on the cross, it is hard to imagine the things said about Jesus that the Bible doesn’t record. To be despised as He was, there had to be a cacophony of taunts, insults, and curses hurled at our Lord.
But then we read the following…
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 ESV
What changed His mind? We know everything Christ said on the cross, so we know He wasn’t participating in any kind of debate while He suffered. And we know the other thief’s thoughts about Jesus.
Jamy and I talked about this in the kitchen after I read it. What she said was on the money. She said that, in spite of everything hideous and sub-human that was going on around Him, Christ’s glory was still visible. And the second thief had a heart that was willing to see it. And once He really looked at Jesus, that thief could not help but see who Jesus was: the Son of God.
When I think of the times I have questioned Christ, it saddens me. All we need to do is to see Him for who He really is, and all our questions are answered. His love and His grace and His mercy are evident, as long as we have eyes to see.