There are several interesting differences between the two thieves dying on either side of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Unrepentant Thief:
1. He “railed at him”—Jesus. In other words, the thief blasphemed the name and work of Jesus by saying in essence, “Hey you! You claim to be the Christ. Prove it by getting us all down from here!”
2. The thief was obviously desperate and would take any help he could get.
3. He really only wanted deliverance from the just punishment of his crimes so he was willing to take any temporary, earthly messiah and salvation he could get. However, he didn’t desire the real deal. His idea of rescue involved no cross and no God to call him to account for his actions. Sounds like many of us today.
The Repentant Thief:
1. He boldly rebukes the other thief in defense of the Lord in front of everyone—the Roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders, and the mob. He was not ashamed of associating with the Lord.
2. The repentant thief willingly accepts his punishment for the crimes he committed.
3. He knows that a worse fate than death on a cross awaits both thieves if God is not merciful and forgiving.
4. The repentant thief recognizes that Christ has done nothing wrong and should not be hanging on a cross next to
5. Even with Jesus being near death, the repentant thief knows somehow that Jesus is ushering in His kingdom and in faith, he requests that the Lord remember him. This thief is totally relying on the work and grace of Jesus Christ to bring this about. Are you willing to die and live in a similar fashion?