If the thief could be saved while nailed to the cross, there is nothing that can keep you nailed to your seat today.
Luke 23: 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Here was a suffering, dying criminal. In his life he had never been in so much pain, not only in his body but in his soul. Around him hung others, among them Jesus. Most of the crowd was trying to hurry their death. This thief knew he was hours—minutes—from hell. He made a profound statement concerning our Savior. It describes the perfect, enduring truth of Jesus. He had done nothing amiss. He was the only one who ever lived who was in mind, in heart, and in deed sinless.
Jesus had opportunity to go amiss, but he didn’t. There is nothing amiss about Jesus. He was in the midst of two thieves whose lives were completely amiss. The entire crowd there that day, and every person of Adam’s race, was amiss but not Jesus. The Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The thief hangs there and looks at Jesus. In his statement is the key. Without this attribute Jesus could not save. Without his sinless-ness we’d be consigned hopelessly to hell. Human tendency is to go from the right. That’s why God sent his Son. He came to live here so he could die for us in our place. Through faith in him our sins can be remissed. Because he had done nothing amiss our sins can be remissed. Our hope of the future and our sanity for the present hinges on this fact about Jesus. Your hope of salvation lies in a Savior who had done nothing amiss. He invites us who have done everything amiss to be saved.
The thief’s first statement speaks of himself and the other thief. They were there justly for the wrong they had done. He spoke for all of us. The other thief mocked Jesus. This one said to him dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds. This reminds us that apart from Jesus Christ we’re all under the same condemnation. There is no good sin, no little or big ones. Sin is sin. You may not be a criminal according to the laws of this world, but in the courts of God we’re all guilty. We’re in violation of God’s Word. We’ll never get saved unless we see how amiss we are. We’ve all gone astray. We do our own thing. It adds up to one thing—lost without Jesus. Amiss without Jesus. I’m thankful for the one on the middle cross. He had done nothing amiss and by trusting that aspect of his character we can be saved.
The thief admitted that he deserved to be there. Humans are bad about making excuses. An excuse means there is an ending. Reason is a beginning. We sin because we’re fallen from God. We all need to see ourselves in the eyes of God—sinners. Jesus had no sin. He suffered for us. He took our place in the middle cross. Anyone who goes to hell will go by their own choice. If you’re not saved, hell is just around the corner.
This thief detected the character of Jesus by what he saw that day. He hadn’t known Jesus long. He wasn’t part of the multitude that followed him around. By observing the suffering and how Jesus conducted himself, he saw what Jesus did and didn’t do. He didn’t retaliate. He was unlike the two thieves. They were afraid. One was loud and mocking. Jesus was silent except for the few times he spoke. His first statement was “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That struck the heart of this man. There was something different about Jesus. He was totally unlike everyone else. This thief scolded the other one and declared that Jesus had done nothing amiss.
The devil tried to get Jesus to sin and failed. Jesus used the Word of God against Satan. Pilate couldn’t provoke Jesus to sin. The Sanhedrin and the false witnesses didn’t provoke him to sin. They couldn’t pin anything on Jesus. You and I can’t pin a thing on him.
The thief looked at Jesus as he quietly suffered in agony. Blood ran down his face from the crown of thorns on his head. The physical suffering of a crucifixion was awful. He said “Lord.” Jesus looked his way. If you call upon the Lord, he’ll be there. He said remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. It took a lot for Jesus to speak. He was in pain. He pushed himself up and said, verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. That thief was changed. The one who had done everything amiss called on the one who had done nothing amiss. Suddenly he could face his own death. His sins were forgiven.
Jesus is still above everyone. He’s beside and before us. He has still done nothing amiss. You can still call on his name. Your state of amiss can be remissed—by Jesus Christ the Lord. Call on his name.