When I read a book, I read the last chapter first since I can’t wait to see how it ends. I like short stories best. This is the best one ever told.

A criminal, walking to his execution in the morning, is on the road with two other men carrying the crosses they will die upon later. There’s no hope for escape or pardon. One would think that these men were not candidates for God’s mercy.

I marvel at what comes next. Both robbers being crucified desired self-preservation at any cost. One heaped insults on Jesus, along with the crowd, saying, “If he’s the king of Israel, let him come down from the cross and we’ll believe in him” (Mathew 27:42).

But the contrite criminal asked to be considered when Jesus came into his kingdom. That thief saw his King die next to him. When the soldier came to break that thief’s legs to end his life more quickly, I am sure he remembered Jesus’ dying promise, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

When a man’s heart changes, the Spirit is there. Just hours before he died, this one thief saw his coming execution as justice for his crimes. He called out to Jesus and found forgiveness from God.

What about you? Are you at the end of the road? Are you ready to admit your guilt to God and call out to him for forgiveness? You don’t have the ability to save yourself. That’s okay. No one does. However, when we were still powerless, Jesus died for the ungodly — and that is each and every one of us.

Lord thank you for showing us that your grace comes even at the last hour for undeserving sinners. Your greatness is unsearchable. You are a great Savior full of compassion and worthy of our everlasting praise! Amen.

Go Deeper — Today, you will probably come to the end of a road. It will be where you have to turn, stop, or park. Let it remind you that God’s Spirit is there, inviting you to confess any wrongdoings to him and receive his perfect pardon.

Tags: The Gospel of Luke Luke 23