Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43 NIV)
Beside Jesus were crucified two criminals – one on His right, the other on His left. They were both dying and needed saving. And while Jesus’ hands were stretched out to the two, only one chose to reach out to Him. Listen in to their conversation:
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
One thief read the sign above Jesus, “King of the Jews,” repented and asked to join the King in His kingdom (vv. 38, 42). On the other hand, the other thief, who also saw the sign, joined the rulers in mocking Jesus and questioning if He is truly the Messiah (vv.35, 39). Jesus died to save us and secure us a spot in His kingdom. But what was true 2,000 years ago is still true today, “many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).