Luke 23:39-43 Between two Thieves


>An elderly lady did her shopping and upon return found 4 males in her car.

>She dropped her shopping bags and took out a handgun, & proceeded to scream at them at the top of her voice

I know how to use this and that will if required, so get out of the car.

The 4 men didn't wait around for a second invitation but got out and ran like mad. Now the lady proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into the drivers seat.

But there was a Small problem, her key wouldn't fit the ignition. See Her car was identical and parked five spaces further down. The Isle .

Well She loaded her bags into her car and drove to the police station.

And told the story to the sergeant who started cracking up with laughter as he pointed to the other end of the counter where 4 very terrified white males reporting a car-jacking by a mad elderly white women....

No charges were filed.-

Talk about a Case of Mistaken Car IDENTITY

Well the story before us today is not a Case of Mistaken IDENTITY

  1. But is instead an ILLUSTRATION of what Happens when a person takes the time to Consider JESUS & HIS CROSS
  2. Set the Scene: We have seen Jesus Betrayed / Mock Trial/ False Accusations / Brought before Pilate & Herod – No fault in this man
  3. But we also saw on Wed. night where Pilate – gave into the Pressure from the Crowd
  1. Not wanting to make waves he opts for Convenience instead of Conviction / Voice of Crowd over Voice of Conscience
  1. In doing do he condemns a Innocent man to death –He first tried to appease this blood thirsty crowd – by having Jesus Beaten
  1. Cat of Nine tails ( Phellagellam) – a beating that would Kill most men
  1. But the Crowd wasn’t satisfied & Demanded that Jesus be Crucified – despite Pilate’s constant – Pleading But I find no fault in Him
  1. Pilate finally Conceded – turned Jesus over to be Crucified


From the Antonio Fortress – Jesus began to carry cross beam up the via Dela rosa – up the Hill to Calvary

  1. However because of the beating He took He wasn’t able to make it
  2. So a man Named SIMON THE CYRENAN – was picked out the crowd to carry his Cross
  1. Simon was a Religious man who came to Worship in Jerusalem for the Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread ( Look at him more Wed.)
  1. Now It is Interesting that Jesus didn’t carry his cross – because when some one was going to be crucified they were required to carry their cross through the city as a SIGN OF THEIR GUILT
  2. Jesus however wasn’t Guilty – He was the Perfect Sinless Lamb of God


Now their were two others who were Guilty who were Carrying Crosses that Day – two Thieves – they followed behind Jesus ( Bad Dudes)

  1. Men in those days- didn’t get Crucified for common Thievery

B) These guys were not first time offenders but hard core –Criminals

A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her daughter was

very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to

get some medication for her daughter. When returning to her car she

found that she locked her keys in the Car

She was in a hurry to get home to her sick daughter, she didn't know what to do, so she called her home and told the baby sitter what happened and that she did not know what to do.

The baby sitter told her that her daughter was getting worse. She said,

"You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door." She was able to find a coat hanger but didn’t know how to use it – Prayed and asked God to send her some help.

Within five minutes an old rusty car pulled up, with a dirty, greasy,

bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head. The

woman thought, "Great God. This is what you sent to help me?" But, she was desperate, so she was also very thankful. The man got out of his car and asked her if he could help.

She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her.

Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car."

He said, "Sure". He walked over to the car, and in less than one minute

The car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said,

"Thank You So Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison

today. I was in prison for car theft & have only been out for about an Hour

The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud,

"Oh, Thank You God! You even sent me a Professional!"

These guys were not nice guys either – but Professional Thieves hard core Criminals who Probably looked as intimidating as the guy in that story

  1. Now The Scene of Simon & the Two thieves carrying their Crosses following Jesus is a Powerful Picture & Illustration
    1. Of How Jesus came to pay the Price & take the punishment for all the World –
  1. For Rotten Sinners like these two Thieves & for religious Sinners Like this man Simon - & everyone in Between
  1. All have sinned & fallen short of the Glory of God !!!!


Now the fact that they crucified Jesus Between two thieves was meant to add Insult to Injury

  1. In their minds they probably thought it was the Ultimate Ridicule to Crucify Jesus w/ such men
  2. But I believe that our Lord saw it as a BLESSING – One last opportunity to FULLFILL His MISSION - Came to seek & to save the Lost
  1. Which is exactly what He was able to accomplish in His final Hours

One more soul was Brought into the Kingdom

  1. Now for many the story of this thief on the Cross is simply a story of how a man can be saved on his death bed .
  1. Indeed the story Illustrates that point – I have used it in that situation before
  1. But we must not stop there in Considering it’s Significance / there is so much more to be Seen.
  1. So in the remainder of our Time I want us to Consider 4 things about this man & his Conversion


1st His faith –

  1. Now Matthews Gospel tells us that the at first both of these men Joined in the Reviling of Jesus saying things like :
  1. "He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him;
  1. But Something happened to this one – Where he moved from Seeing Jesus in Scorn -& Contempt – to Love & Compassion


C) Now we don’t Know the outward means which led to this man’s


D)Nobody preached a sermon to him, no evangelistic address was delivered

at the foot of his cross,/ no meeting was held for special prayer for him.

  1. This is clearly just a Sovereign work of God’s Spirit


We can only suppose that he was affected by seeing the Lord’s

patient demeanor, or, perhaps, by hearing that prayer,

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

  1. He Know doubt like so many others before him had cruised those who nailed him to the Cross

B) But here he watches Jesus in Silent Confidence – receive His Punishment - & actually Pray for those responsible for inflicting Him w/ Pain.

  1. Maybe it was the inscription over the head of our Lord may have helped him—"Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
  1. Being a Jew, he no doubt knew something of the Scriptures, and putting all the facts together, saw Prophecies in a new Light

D)Perhaps all the Prophecies concerning how the Messiah was to Suffer –

suddenly made Sense to him.

Maybe that writing was his little Bible, his New Testament, and he interpreted it by what he knew of the Old Testament.

Putting this and that together — that strange Person, incarnate loveliness, all patience and all majesty, that strange prayer, and now this singular inscription, surely he who knew the Old Testament, as I have no doubt he did, would say to himself, "Is this He? Is this truly the King of the Jews? This is he who wrought miracles, and raised the dead, and said that he was the Son of God; is it all true, and is he really our Messiah?"

Then he would remember the words of the prophet

Isaiah, "He was despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and

acquainted with grief. Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our

sorrows." "Why," he would say to himself, "I never understood that

passage in the prophet Isaiah before, but it must point to him. The

chastisement of our peace is upon him. Can this be he who cried in the

Psalms — ‘they pierced my hands and my feet’?" As he looked at him

again, he felt in his soul, "It must be he? Could there be another so like to

him?" He felt conviction creeping over his spirit. Then he looked again,

and he marked how all men down below rejected, and despised, and hissed

at him, and hooted him, and all this would make the case the more clear.

"All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake

the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him

deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."

Peradventure, this dying thief read the gospel out of the lips of Christ’s

enemies. They said, — "He saved others." "Ah!" thought he, "did he save

others? Why should he not save me?" What a grand bit of gospel that was

for the dying thief, — "He saved others!" I think I could s

    1. we can’t be for sure – But all we know is that by spending time observing Jesus upon that Cross – his eyes were opened


Now here is what is amazing to me here is a man who lived his whole life for himself – resulted in – this – Being Crucified

  1. But in the Mist of spending a few hrs at the Cross of Jesus / a Few hrs w/ Jesus & he is convinced

B) Others spend their whole life next to Jesus / Church service after Church Service / Bible study after Bible study / Communion services / Christian ED

    1. Yet they Struggle w/ Believing that Jesus was really who He said He was ! Really the Way …. Life

C)To that person the thief is no Comfort – but rather condemns You –

by saying What are you doing to abide so long in UNBELIEF

  1. Jesus is not interested so much in the History of our Faith – But the QUALITY of our Faith – ( how Real is it )


Notice 2nd His Confession of Faith : 4 things

A) #1 V. 40 He confessed His own Guilt - 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 "And we indeed justly,

NLT 39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, "So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself--and us, too, while you're at it!"40 But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you are dying? 41 We deserve to die for our evil deeds,

  1. Key place to come to Admit you are a Sinner !!!!

# 2 He Confessed Christ Guiltlessness / His Innocence

  1. We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong."


  1. V.42 "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

B) Paul – said

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

  1. He went on Record – Importance of Doing so
  1. Public Profession
  1. You Profess Christ at Work – Watch what happens / Protection
  1. You invite Church on Sunday- Not Party on Saturday night

#4 Confessed that He was a KING – Remember me when You come into your Kingdom .

3rd – Thing about His faith – Last statement – Prayer of Faith –

  1. He Prayed to Jesus as a KING HAVING A KINGDOM
  2. Do we come before Him in that Way – Actually talking to the King of Kings & Lord of Lord’s
  1. There is something awesome about His request – In it He was seeking Spiritual Blessing only .
  1. The other Thief was interested in only the temporal – Save yourself & us – Get us DOWN FROM HERE OUT OF THIS MESS

What about us ? Are we only Interested in the TEMPORAL – Lord get me out of this mess / come through on the Finances & I will serve you

  1. Lord – I need help now – today –
  2. This thief was focused on the Eternal

C) Power Prayer -

? Humility Prayer pg.434


4th His faith was Answered - 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."