“We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.” These words were spoken on Skull’s hill by a thief. After a life of crime, he’s reached the bottom—a crossbeam and three spikes. He begins to wonder who Jesus might be, and he hears the whisper, “Father, forgive them.”
When the other criminal hurls an accusation at Jesus, this thief defends him. His statement includes facts that anyone needs to recognize to come to Jesus. We are guilty and he is innocent. He is not on that cross for his sins. He is there for ours. And Jesus performs the greatest miracle of the cross—the miracle of forgiveness. “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” A sin-soaked criminal is received by a blood-stained Savior. Such is the definition of grace.