The Other Criminal

Author: Mike Hurley — Host: Andrew StevensPosted on: April 10, 2020

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
The Other Criminal

I’m a people watcher who loves hanging out at restaurants, observing the crowd around me. As people pass by, I wonder who they are and sometimes try to guess their story. I do the same with Bible characters—so many of their stories seem far too incomplete. There were two criminals crucified at the same time as Jesus, and Luke records their brief interaction. The one who interests me isn’t the one who was promised paradise with Jesus; it’s the other guy. Luke reveals the man was yelling insults at Jesus, quoting the man saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39). Those were bold words coming from a man on the cusp of death. Clearly, he had heard of Jesus and the rumor of Him being the Messiah. But why hurl insults? His angry comments were so offensive the criminal was rebuked not by Jesus but by the other criminal. There is so much we don’t know. The man’s name, crime, background, age, and family are all left unspoken. We assume both criminals died at some point, and most assume one criminal will see Jesus in paradise and the other won’t. I hold out hope for the angry criminal—hope that he watched the man who received the promise of eternal life in Jesus and had a last-moment change of heart. It could have happened. Such is the nature of salvation. We are saved not by good works but by belief in the work of Christ on the cross. • Mike Hurley • Is salvation really so simple as trusting in the work of Christ? (Check out our “Know Jesus” page for more information.) • Why do you think Luke didn’t record any other details about the two criminals? • Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Why is it important that salvation from sin and death isn’t based on what we do? For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Read Verses:

Luke 23:39-43