What can we learn from the two criminals that were crucified along with Jesus?

Most people are familiar with the biblical account of two criminals crucified along with Christ. One said to Christ, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” The other reprimanded him with the words: “Do you not fear God? …we are receiving the due reward of our deeds, but Jesus has done nothing wrong.” This penitent thief then pleaded: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.

We can liken the 2 thieves to the two types of believers on earth today. Just like the unrepentant thief, a part of present day believers do not have the true faith. Such believers hold that Jesus can arbitrarily grant them “unmerited favour”. What they demand from their Saviour are arbitrary acts they call “miracles”. They expect to be delivered suddenly from all kinds of earthly difficulties which they themselves often times bring about through their stubbornness and reckless behaviour. These types of believers always approach the Most High with a shopping list whenever they pray to Him. Their faith is all about what they can get from the Lord in the material sense!  Some have even stepped over all boundaries by attempting to “command” their Creator, asking Him to prove Himself by doing this or that for them! These attitudes remind one of the insults of the foolish thief who said “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us”. It is just like saying: “if you don’t save us, then you are not the Christ.”

The repentant thief on the other hand (epitomising the attitude of a true believer) recognised humbly that he was in the wrong and was paying for his wrongful behaviour. He did not demand any quick fix to his problem like the other thief. Instead, he pleaded for forgiveness and expressed a yearning for the Heavenly Kingdom. He reminds us of one of the admonitions of Jesus that we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. Similarly, true believers recognising that they are responsible for their thoughts words and deeds tread the way of repentance and continue in their resolve to do only what accords with the Will of God.

In the end, the foolish thief got nothing while Jesus assured the penitent thief of a place in paradise! So, the decision is ours. There is the path of those who make self-serving earthly demands and expect arbitrary actions from the Creator. There is also the path of repentance that pleads humbly for God’s forgiveness and strength for spiritual ascent. My wish is that we choose the path of repentance which leads to salvation and redemption.

The explanation given in this article is based on the author’s understanding of the Work “In The Light of Truth”, The Grail Message by Abd-ru-shin.
The reader is hereby invited to personally examine this Work. Copies of the Work can be obtained from any of the addresses listed here.

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