“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
The Thief of Luke 23
The thief on the cross personifies Biblical repentance for us. We must become as he, and stumble upon the same awareness as he, to enter the narrow door that leads to life. He presents himself as he is and offers to Christ only what he owns… his sin and guilt, without pretense or excuse. We tend to be trust our own advocacy to explain our narrative to God. Repentance includes a radical departure from all explanations, excuses, and all blame we have utilized in the past to resolve guilt by blame of others to protect and excuse Self. Nothing fits through that narrow door of conversion that symbolically represents the new birth. Nothing. Not even your sinful heart. God must give you a new one. This is why we say it is incorrect to say you must give your heart to Jesus; He does not need that nasty thing. In reality we all need Jesus to grant us a new heart as He takes out the old heart of stone. Our sin and our guilt are squeezed off as we press through the gate into the narrow way to be adorned in His robe of righteousness alone.
The Thief’s Awakening Cry:
He is aware of personal guilt.
He senses justice must be served.
He owns his deeds as evil.
He sees in Christ perfection.
He senses the suffering Christ is sufficient.
He cries to Christ for protection.
“Jesus, remember me.”
He believes as Abraham that God raises the dead.
One day we will meet this very man. He is in the presence of God today. He will be identified as the humble man who is quick to say it is all of grace. Won’t we all?
“Nothing in my hands I bring;
Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
(Toplady in ‘Rock of Ages’)
Lord, I could never deserve Your merit nor gain Your forgiveness by my performance, even on my best day which I must have misplaced. Unravel my pretense and confusion. Clear my vision and open the eyes of my heart to see my only hope in the very dying form of the Lamb of God upon Calvary’s Tree. Give me faith as this repentant thief. Paradise is His presence. Gripe me with this eternal reality. Never let me lose sight of the Light. Grant me fullness of joy.
“I need Thee. Oh I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee. Oh bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.”