The next step is faith.
Talk about faith! I think this is about the most extraordinary case
of faith in the Bible. Abraham was the father of the faithful; but
God had him in training for twenty-five years. Moses was a man of
faith; but he saw the burning bush, and had other evidences of God.
Elijah had faith; but see what good reason he had for it. God took
care of him, and fed him in time of famine. But
ere was a man who
perhaps had never seen a miracle; who had spent his life among
criminals; whose friends were thieves and outlaws; who was now in
his dying agonies in the presence of a crowd who were rejecting and
reviling the Son of God. His disciples, who had heard His wonderful
words, and witnessed His mighty works, had forsaken Him; and perhaps
the thief knew this. Peter had denied Him with oaths and cursing;
and perhaps this had been told the thief. Judas had betrayed Him. He
saw no glittering crown upon His brow; only the crown of thorns. He
could see no sign of His kingdom. Where were His subjects? And yet,
nailed to the cross, racked with pain in every nerve, overwhelmed
with horror, his wicked soul in a tempest of passion, this poor
wretch managed to lay hold on Christ and trust Him for a swift
salvation. The faith of this thief, how it flashes out amid the
darkness of Calvary! It is one of the most astounding instances of
faith in the Bible!
When I was a boy I was a poor speller. One day there came a word to
the boy at the head of the class which he couldn't spell, and none
of the class could spell it. I spelled it; by good luck; and I went
from the foot of the class to the head. So the thief on the cross
passed by Abraham, Moses and Elijah, and went to the head of the
class. He said unto Jesus:
"Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom."
Thank God for such a faith! How refreshing it must have been to
Christ to have one own Him as Lord, and believe in His kingdom, at
that dark hour! How this thief's heart goes out to the Son of God!
How glad he would be to fall on his knees at the foot of the cross,
and pour out his prayer! But this he cannot do. His hands and feet
are nailed fast to the wood, but they have not nailed his eyes and
his tongue and his heart. He can at least turn his head and look
upon the Son of God, and his breaking heart can go out in love to
that One who was dying for him and dying for you and me, and he can
"Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom."