What Did Jesus Said To The Thief On The Cross

The thief on the cross, the comma & Christ

Scripture passages relating to a thief on a cross may be found in the following passages: Matthew 27:38; Luke 23:32-43; and Mark 15:27. As far as biblical stories go, this is one of the most moving and heartwarming of them all. A dying contrite thief professes faith in Christ as his Lord and Master, and Jesus assures him that he will have a place in paradise. Many individuals have also inquired as to the identity of the thief on the cross, a subject that has been posed numerous times. He is not named in the Bible, which is unfortunate, because his narrative paints an incredible image of God’s love as manifested through Jesus and the mercy that is freely extended to all of humanity via God’s grace.

But many are wondering:

(1) Did the repentant thief travel to paradise with Jesus on the same day that he repented? (2) Is there a discrepancy between what Jesus said to the thief and what He spoke to Mary the next Sunday? (3) Does paradise refer to something other than the hereafter in the afterlife?

Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise

Consider the following passages from Luke 23 in order to determine the meaning of this phrase: One of the convicts who was about to be hung profaned Him, saying, If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” “Do you not even fear God, seeing as how you are both under the same condemnation?” the other asked him in response. And we are rightfully so, for we obtain the proper recompense for our acts; but, this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he addressed Jesus, saying, ‘Lord, keep me in mind when You come into Your kingdom.’ In response, Jesus stated to him: “I am confident in saying that you will be with Me in Paradise today.” (Luke 23:39-43; Matthew 23:39-43).

“Lord, please remember me when You come into Your kingdom,” he says in a short prayer before dying.

Is Jesus implying that the repentant criminal will be present with Him on that particular day in heaven?

Luke 23:43 – The Thief On The Cross Contradiction

According to Luke 23:43, Jesus tells the disciples, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” As we learn from Jesus’ words to Mary in the garden on the first day of the week (John 20:1-17), “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I climb unto my Father and your Father; and unto my God, and your God.” (See also John 20:17.) Additionally, according to John 19:31-33, the religious authorities demanded that the thieves’ legs be broken and that they be brought down from their crosses, respectively.

  1. They didn’t want the thieves to be nailed on the crosses on Saturday and Sunday.
  2. Is this a logical inconsistency?
  3. Instead of being placed just before the word today, what if it was placed after it?
  4. If we go back and read the verse again, what if Jesus was saying something like, “Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise”?
  5. A period following the word today indicates that Jesus was emphatic on the day of his crucifixion, as if to say, today, while I am dying on the cross and there appears to be no hope for me, I am telling you that you will be with me in paradise at some point.

If, on the other hand, the comma is placed before the wordtoday, Jesus would be guaranteeing that the thief would be with Him in paradise that very day; this would make Jesus a liar and would also be in direct contradiction with John 20:17.

The Thief On the Crossthe Comma

Depending on where the comma is inserted, the sentence will read quite differently. An example of this is the story of a wealthy guy whose wife wrote him an urgent telegraph asking if she may purchase a very expensive item on his behalf. “No, the price is too expensive,” he replied in his response. Unfortunately, the comma was not included in the transmission by the telegraph operator. When the wife read the message, “No price is too high,” she was overjoyed and rushed out and purchased the costly item.

If the punctuation is wrong by even one word, the meaning of the sentence might be completely different.

Often, it is our preconceived notions that cause us to believe that a certain passage signifies something specific.

The difficulty now is, how can we bring this passage into harmony with the remainder of the Bible’s narrative?

Is the Comma Inspired?

Is the punctuation in the Bible a result of divine inspiration? It is important to note that there was no punctuation in the original Greek language of the New Testament, and that there was no space between words as well. Here is a quotation from Michael W. Palmer, a linguist who specializes in Greek. “The ancient Greeks did not have a mechanism that we would recognize as a substitute for punctuation. Sentence punctuation was first used several centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection.

When the translators of the English Bible were tasked with translating this passage and others like it, they had to select where the punctuation should be placed in the translation.

God undoubtedly assisted them in the translation of the Bible, but the punctuation used was not inspired because punctuation was not used in the original manuscripts.

Is the Paradise that Jesus Referred to in Heaven?

This may appear to be an unexpected question to add, however there is a hypothesis that paradise is not the same as heaven, but a different location entirely. It is generally believed that this hypothesis was developed in order to reconcile the seeming conflict between what Christ said to the thief on the cross and what He spoke to Mary two days thereafter.

Where does the Bible say paradise is?

During his visit to Ephesus, Christ made the following promise to the faithful: “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat from my tree of life, which is located within the gates of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). So, where has the tree of life vanished to? The answer to this question will assist us in determining the location of paradise. The New Jerusalem, according to Revelation 22:1-4, is home to the tree of life, which may be found there.

As a result, we may be positive that paradise will be found in the New Jerusalem, where God will reign. It is not a location in the underworld or in the underground areas of the universe. Paradise is the garden of God, which is located in the celestial realm.


On Sunday morning, the Scriptures make it quite apparent that Christ had not yet risen to the Father. Consequently, He could not have been present in paradise on Friday with the thief. In other words, the Bible translators made the mistake of putting the comma before the word today, rather than after it, in the text.

What did Jesus mean when He said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”?

QuestionAnswer Comma punctuation, as well as other punctuation marks, were incorporated into biblical manuscripts decades after the texts were written, according to widespread understanding. As a result, commas are not considered authoritative. The arrangement of commas, on the other hand, can have an impact on our interpretation of a text. To give an example, in Luke 23, one of the robbers who was crucified close to Jesus asks, “Jesus, please remember me when you come into your kingdom.” I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise,’ Jesus responded.

  • Jesus might have been implying that “today you will be with me.” (meaning that “today” is when the thief will arrive in paradise) was what he was saying.
  • First and foremost, we should point out that every major Bible translation places a comma before the word today.
  • It was on the exact same day that the thief would find himself in paradise with Jesus.
  • The fact that Jesus employs this word as a prefix phrase when He is going to say something that should be carefully listened to has been noted by many experts.
  • It’s interesting that no one else save Jesus ever says it.
  • He is stating that what He is about to say is important and deserving of particular consideration.
  • What I’m about to say is extremely important, and you should pay close attention to what I’m saying.” We’ve become so accustomed to hearing the phrase that we’ve lost sight of the incredible authority it conveys, as well as the often solemn nature of the announcement that follows.

Wouldn’t it be strange if, for this one instance, Jesus deviated from His usual method of signing off on His signature statement by including the word today?

So, the translators have it right.

This brings us to another question.

After Christ died, it was His body that was buried in the tomb.

Jesus’ spirit was in the Father’s presence (Luke 23:46; Ephesians 4:8).

See more information in our articlehere.

By the grace of God and the power of Christ, that promise was kept. The thief’s sins were washed away, and his death that day was his entrance to paradise. Return to:Questions about Luke What did Jesus mean when He said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”?

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Did the Thief on the Cross Go to Heaven with Jesus Christ (Luke 23:43)?

After His crucifixion, Jesus predicted that He would stay in the grave for three days and three nights. Would it be possible for the thief to have been with Christ in Paradise on that particular day, if that is the case, which it most surely is, Take note of Luke 23:43 with caution. It was Jesus who stated that the crucified perpetrator would be present with Him in Paradise. If we can establish where Jesus went after He died, we will be able to establish whether or not the perpetrator actually got to Paradise on that day.

  1. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sinsaccording to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third dayaccording to the Scriptures,” Paul says.
  2. It states that He—Jesus, in his entirety—was laid to rest in a tomb.
  3. He died as a sacrifice for our sins.
  4. John provides us with more evidence as to where Jesus had been.
  5. “There,” that is, in the tomb, in the grave, “lay they Jesus.” ” (John 19:41-42).
  6. Jesus was no longer alive!

When it comes to Christ, Peter references the prophet David, who says the following: “He had foreseen this and spoke of the resurrection of Christ, saying that His spirit had not been sent into hell and that His flesh had not been corrupted.” This passage establishes that Jesus was not in Paradise, but rather in Hell at the time of his death.

  • Hell or the tomb are not equivalent to Paradise.
  • Christ is “preeminent” in all things, including the universe (Colossians 1:18).
  • Every time a repentant sinner reaches Paradise, Christ will be there to greet him as well!
  • When Paul refers of someone he knew who received wonderful visions and revelations from the Lord, he is referring to him in II Corinthians 12:1–5.
  • The Bible mentions Paradise in a number of different verses.
  • Take note of the fact that the tree of life is located in the Paradise of God.
  • This city is where we may discover “a river of living water, clear as crystal, flowing out of the throne of God and the Lamb, and flowing through the middle of the street of the city of God.
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The tree of life can be found in the New Jerusalem.

Although Jesus stated that the repentant malefactor will be with Him in this Paradise, the construction of the New Jerusalem has not yet been completed.

(Revelation 20:1-5).

When Jesus told the disciples, “Today you shall be with me in paradise,” what did he mean?

Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth!

The simple reality is that Jesus has not yet entered His Kingdom (Luke 11:2; 19:11; I Corinthians 11:26; I Thessalonians 4:13-17; I Corinthians 15:23; I Corinthians 15:49-52)!

The majority of translations use incorrect punctuation to give the impression that Jesus would be in Paradise on that particular day.

A comma should not be added before the word “today.” The following sentence should be followed by a comma: “Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” With the phrase “today,” Jesus was emphasizing the period of His promise rather than the time He would be in Paradise when he spoke it.

Men eventually introduced it into the Greek and English languages hundreds of years later.

“Today” naturally follows “say,” the word it modifies, as if it were a preposition.

Jesus is the only one who has risen from the dead (Romans 8:29;Acts 26:23;I Corinthians 15:23). Yet the moment is drawing near when this guy will be revived and finally reach the Paradise of God that has been promised to this planet by God.

105. The Thief on the Cross (Luke 23:39-43)

‘Christ and the Good Thief’ (1566), oil on canvas, 54 x 59 inches, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Italy. Detail from ‘Christ and the Good Thief’ (1566), oil on canvas, 54 x 59 inches.” The taunts he received from one of the prisoners who were hanging there included: ‘Aren’t you the Christ?’ ‘Save yourself and us from ourselves!’ 40However, the other criminal reprimanded him. ‘Don’t you have any fear of God,’ he said, referring to the fact that you were both sentenced to death. 41We are being punished fairly, because we are receiving the punishment that our sins merit.

43 ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in my paradise,’ Jesus responded to his question.” (Luke 23:39-43, New International Version) Despite its modest length, this section contains one of the most astounding petitions and promises found anywhere in the whole Bible.

Angry Insults from a Dying Criminal (Luke 23:39)

“”Aren’t you the Christ?” said one of the convicts who hung next to him, hurling obscenities at him. ‘Save yourself and us from ourselves!'” (Matthew 23:39) Two criminals, Greekkakourgos, are nailed to crosses at Jesus’ right and left hands. “‘Criminal, evil-doer,’ one who commits grossmisdeeds and significant crimes,” the word means in English. 1162 Other Gospels refer to them as robbers, Greeklsts, which means “robber, highwayman, bandit”1163 in translation (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27). Despite the possibility that they were common thieves, they could also have been the kinds of highwaymen who swooped down on isolated groups of travelers on their way from Jerusalem to Jericho, stripped them of their belongings, and left them for dead, as in the case of the victim in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (10:25-37).

  • Travelers were frightened to death by bandits like these two.
  • On the other side of Jesus, one of these highwaymen, who is dying on a cross on one side of Jesus, continues the cat-calling that was started by the soldiers “Aren’t you the Christ, after all?
  • It is intended to be a broad dig at authorities of all kinds.
  • It appears that the thief is making light of Jesus’ failure to accomplish anything despite the lofty title of “Messiah” that has been bestowed upon him.
  • hesneers.

The Greek term blasphme is used to characterize the thief’s taunts, and it is generally used to denote “teasing.” “”to humiliate by speech,” a particularly delicate subject in a society where honor and shame are valued; “to talk in a contemptuous manner that demeans, denigrates, or maligns someone.” Slander, revile, and defame are all acceptable.” 1164

This Man Has Done Nothing Wrong (Luke 23:40-41)

“The other criminal, on the other hand, scolded him. ‘Don’t you have any fear of God,’ he said, referring to the fact that they were both serving the same sentence. We are being punished fairly, since we are receiving the consequences of our actions. ‘However, this individual has done nothing wrong.'” (Luke 23:40-41) The second convicted brigand is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as a result of these taunts. In addition to reviling humans, the term “blaspheme” can apply to “talk irreverently, impiously, disrespectfully of or about God,” according to the dictionary.

To stand by and let an unjust act such as the execution of an innocent man to take place is an impious and immoral act, and the second brigand is adamant about maintaining his sense of right and wrong.

Remember Me in Your Kingdom (Luke 23:42)

When he saw Jesus, he pleaded to him, “Jesus, please remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Matthew 23:42) This sentence is remarkable in whichever way you look at it! The disciples of Jesus have either departed or remain disillusioned on the periphery of the gathering. It is these men on the road to Emmaus who express their pessimism by saying, “They crucified him, but we had believed that he was the one who was going to restore Israel” (Luke 24:20-21). However, here on the cross, to one side, a fellow condemned man, his life ebbing away, looks across and sees not another dying man, but the Messiah himself, who has come to save him.

As a prisoner to prisoner, I recall Joseph saying something along these lines to Pharoah’s cupbearer when he foretold that the cupbearer would be released from jail: “When everything goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison” (Genesis40:14).

  • Already, darkness has descended upon the entire region, and yet a dying thief continues to believe.
  • Yes.
  • Is he willing to repent?
  • His remorse and hope drive his appeal for mercy, “Remember me,” in which he begs for forgiveness.

Isn’t Baptism Required for Salvation?

Was he, however, baptized? Isn’t baptism a pre-requisite for receiving salvation? Baptism is unquestionably commanded by Jesus. The Great Commission instructs us to “go and make disciples of all countries, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,” he adds. (See Matthew 28:19 for further information.) In the lengthy and controversial ending of Mark’s Gospel, the mandate is much stronger: “Whomever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Matthew 16:16) The significance of baptism is likewise implied by Peter on the Feast of the Transfiguration.

  • (Acts 2:38).
  • Gentiles who believe Peter’s words at Cornelius’ house in Caesarea are baptized by the Holy Spirit, who descends upon them.
  • The unifying factor in this situation is trust.
  • ‘What shall we do?’ is the question that is posed at the Feast of Pentecost.
  • Even the thief hanging on the cross has faith; his plea to Jesus is brimming with hope.

As far as adults are concerned, nearly all Christians would agree that baptism should accompany faith and should take place as soon as possible after faith (at least, this appears to be the case in all of the examples we see in the New Testament), but I would argue that baptism itself does not save people from their sins.

It is not true that you can or should distinguish between baptism and salvation.

You shouldn’t do it. They are complementary. It is also not a good idea to build doctrine on the basis of exceptions. Nevertheless, when we endeavor to comprehend this mystery of salvation, the thief on the cross provides us with an image of saving faith that is apart from baptism.

How about Deathbed Conversions?

It is common for people to point to the example of the thief on the cross as a model for deathbed conversions. As a result, this is the case. I have no doubt that the thief had attended one of Jesus’ outdoor talks and had gained some measure of faith as a result of his experience. Many people, including some on their deathbeds, have repented and confessed Christ. Authentic repentance and the commitment to Christ that authentic repentance requires are the distinguishing characteristics between “some form of faith” and “saving faith.” The possibility of being saved when on one’s deathbed, I believe, exists.

But now I just want to have a good time.” And some of them do not get the opportunity to repent until they are on their dying beds.

The thief on the cross demonstrates that deathbed salvation is conceivable, and it may even be real (God only knows the heart), but it should not be depended upon as a guarantee of salvation.

Today You’ll Be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)

“Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise,'” the Bible says. (Matthew 23:43) Isn’t it lovely that Jesus promises the believing thief that he will spend eternity with him in paradise? Our English term “paradise” is a transcription of the Greek wordparadeisos, which originates from the OldPersian wordpairidaeza, which means “enclosure” in English. Specifically, the word is used for the Garden of God in the creation account (Genesis 2:8-10, 16, etc.) in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, and this translation shifts the meaning of the word from secular parks to the hallowed Garden of God.

1166 The term paradise appears three times in the New Testament: “Today you will be with me in paradise,” “Tomorrow you will be with me in paradise,” and “Tomorrow you will be with me in paradise.” (Matthew 23:43) “And I know that this man – whether he was in the body or aside from the body, I’m not sure, but God knows – was sucked into Paradise by some unknown force.

I will provide the privilege of eating from the tree of life, which is located in the paradise of God, to the one who triumphs.” The book of Revelation (2:7) At least according to Paul, the “thirdheaven” and paradise are synonymous in 2 Corinthians 12:3-4.

As far as I’m concerned, we may connect paradise with heaven and be rather secure. In this passage, Jesus promises the believing thief that he will be with him in heaven “today.”

Implications for Soul Sleep

A belief known as “soulsleep” is taught by a small number of Christian organizations. In essence, the religion says that during death, the soul “sleeps” and does not become awake again until after the resurrection. Indeed, “sleep” has been used as a euphemism for death on a number of occasions throughout history. 1167 However, three texts make it very apparent that the soul is not unconscious until the resurrection: “Today you will be with me in paradise,” “Tomorrow you will be with me in paradise,” and “Tomorrow you will be with me in paradise.” “We are confident, I say, and would choose to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (Luke 23:43) “I say, we would like to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 (New International Version) The decision is difficult for me: I want to go and be with Christ, which is incomparably superior.

  1. (Philippians 1:23; 2 Timothy 3:16) For example, what about the verses that say Jesus “preached to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19; 4:6) after his crucifixion and before his resurrection?
  2. What about the Apostles’ Creed, which reads, “He descended into hell,” based on Acts 2:31, Matthew 12:40, and Romans 10:7?
  3. “Descended into hell,” according to Philip Schaff, was added later, and the translation “hell” is both regrettable and deceptive, according to him.
  4. 1168 In contrast to the Gnostics, who claimed that Jesus just “appeared to” die and be buried, the Apostles’ Creed declares that Jesus genuinely died and was buried.
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Faith and Promise

We are all aware of how encouraging the story of the Thief on the Cross has been to Christians throughout history, and we are thankful for that. But what about Jesus, who died on the cross by himself? What did it mean to him personally? When Jesus was dying, I think that the Father provided him with an unusual company during his final hours: a believer, and a very strong believer, to boot. Jesus had frequently expressed his displeasure with the lack of faith he observed in his surroundings. His disciples, on the other hand, are sometimes characterized by “lack of faith” (12:28; Matthew 8:26; 14:31; 16:8;17:20).

  • However, every now and again, Jesus comes across someone who had tremendous faith.
  • “I assure you, I have not encountered such tremendous faith anywhere else, not even in Israel,” Jesus says of the guy (7:9).
  • Even if many others do not understand, at least your prize pupil does, and this gives you a fantastic sense of accomplishment.
  • Because they are both Gentiles and criminals, neither of them can be accepted by the Jewish religious authorities.
  • In a way, Jesus has been abandoned by the Father as well (Matthew27:46; Mark 15:34; quoting Psalm 22:1) The fact that he takes on himself the punishment and anger of God in order to make us whole is a sign of his love for us (Isaiah53:5).
  • The Father sends him a believer to accompany him on his journey.
  • A Christian who is able to see past the raw wood, nails, and blood to the heavenly kingdom that Jesus will one day rule.

As life on earth comes to an end, Jesus responds to him, “Yes, you’ll be there with me today in paradise, I’m sure of it. You and I are going to go together.” What a leap of faith! What a wonderful promise! What an honor it is to be here! What a crowning achievement!


Father, you never leave yourself without a witness to stand by your side. Even Jesus’ closest disciples had doubts about their Savior. However, you brought up a thief who possessed great faith and was the recipient of a big promise. Please help me to maintain my faith. As my life is buffeted by the winds of change, I am frequently agitated and perplexed. Allow me to remain undisturbed. Allow me to look past them and into the presence of Jesus. May my faith, through your grace, provide some joy to your broken heart, just as the thief’s trust in Jesus did for him.


Key Verse

“‘Jesus, please keep me in mind when you come into your kingdom,’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise,’ said Jesus in response to his question.” (Luke 23:42-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23:44-43; 23


Click on the link below to join a discussion on one or more of the topics that follow – you can pick and choose which ones to debate.

  1. Why do you think one of the convicts on the crucifixion insulted and mocked Jesus, and how did you get to that conclusion? What aspect of his human nature compelled him to do this? (Matthew 23:39)
  2. What is the reason for the other criminal’s condemnation of his insults? On what grounds is he attempting to dissuade him? (Luke 23:40-41
  3. Matthew 23:40-41)
  4. The thief had to believe something about Jesus in order for him to approach him and say, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). What are the components of his religious beliefs
  5. Is it possible that the thief confessed his crimes? Was he truly repentant? What do you believe Jesus’ reaction to the thief’s appeal was like
  6. What are the essential components of Jesus’ promise to the thief in Matthew 23:43
  7. And In the midst of this bizarre debate on the crosses over our heads, what are we disciples meant to take away from it? What is it that Jesus wants us to take away from this?


Abbreviations and citations are provided. Kakourgos is a BDAG 502 student. Blasphme, BDAG 178. Blasphme Rather than claiming that baptism saves a person who does not have faith, 1 Peter 3:21 argues that baptism itself is a “appeal of a good conscience toward God” or “the promise of a good conscience toward God,” depending on how you translate the Greek wordeperotma. Paradeisos, BDAG 761 (Bay Area Defense Group). Luke Marshall’s book, p. 872-873. TDNT 5:765-773, Joachim Jeremias, Paradeisos. The following verses are examples: Luke 8:52; John 11:11; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:18, 20, 51; 1 Thessalonians4:14-15; 5:10; and so on.

  • 140-141, footnote 26.
  • 2022, Copyright, Intellectual Property, Pastor Ralph F.
  • All intellectual property rights are retained.
  • This should not be posted on a website.

Didn’t Jesus tell the thief on the cross that they would be in heaven that day?

The passage in question is Luke 23:43. “Jesus assured him, ‘Assuredly, I tell to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise,'” the Bible records. Proof passages are found in John 20:17 and John 19:31–33. Incredibly moving narrative of the thief on the cross, the redemption of the criminal. It demonstrates to us that conversions may occur at the end of a person’s life; that even the most heinous offenders will be welcomed by God if they come to Him; and that God requires nothing more than a plea for salvation made in faith in order to be saved.

  • The narrative of the thief on the cross is one of the most often referenced passages in favor of the belief that there is life after death, and it is also one of the most popular.
  • It’s not difficult to see why so many people are perplexed by this passage.
  • Jesus would be dishonest if he didn’t say that!
  • Allow me to share with you a narrative from John chapter 20, which takes place on Easter Sunday and involves Mary Magdalene discovering Christ’s empty tomb.
  • Her first reaction upon realizing He is the resurrected Lord is to rush over and kiss Him on the cheeks.
  • ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; instead, go to My brethren and tell them, “I am ascending to My Father and to your Father, and to My God and your God,'” the scripture states.
  • According to the words of Christ Himself, He had not entered into the presence of the Father on Friday, the day of His death.
  • That Jesus was telling the thief that they would be in paradise together on that exact day is impossible to believe.
  • As a result, how can we make sense of the passage in Luke 23?
  • According to how the passage is written, both men will be in paradise on Friday.

However, if you shift the comma one word to the right, the sentence becomes: “Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.’ ” “Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.’ ” On that day, Jesus did, in fact, inform the thief that he would enter into heaven.

  1. For several examples, see Deuteronomy 7:11, 8:1, 9:3, 10:13, 13:18, and 15:5 in the Bible.
  2. In fact, there were no punctuation marks at all in the original Greek manuscript!
  3. ANDJESUSSAIDTOHIM ASSUREDLYISAYTOYOUTODAYYOUWILLBEWITHMEINPARADISE All of the punctuation marks, including commas and periods, quotation marks, and even the spaces between the words, were added to the Bible by various translators over the course of time.
  4. Christ did not ascend to heaven after His death because He rested in the grave on the seventh day of the week.

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All intellectual property rights are retained.

Luke 23:32- Jesus, The Cross, A Thief, and Forgiveness

Luke 23:32-43 (KJV) (NAS95) 32 Two other individuals, both of whom were criminals, were being carried away to be executed with Him. 33 When they arrived at the location known as The Skull, they nailed Him and the criminals on the cross, one on the right and the other on the left, respectively. Then he continued with a prayer, “Father, pardon them; because they do not understand what they are doing.” As a result, they divided His clothing among themselves by drawing lots. 35 And the rest of the audience just stood there and watched.

  • 36 The soldiers also made fun of Him, approaching Him and offered Him sour wine, 37 saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, rescue Yourself!” The word “THISIS THE KING OF THE JEWS” was also seen above Him at this point.
  • 42 “Truly I tell you,” He assured him.
  • While the Lord was going through the physical, emotional, and probably even spiritual pain on the cross, he continued to communicate the divine character of His love for man via his actions.
  • He made the effort to restrain his own suffering in order to meet the demands of a sinner, and he was successful.
  • It’s a fantastic peace of mind to know that you’re in good hands.
  • The New Testament, Jesus’ Covenant, on the other hand, teaches that baptism is the only thing that stands between a person and forgiveness of sin.
  • Despite Jesus’ unambiguous words, many people teach and believe that baptism is not required to become a Christian.
  • They also assume that the thief on the cross had never been baptized, as required by the New Testament, and as a result, they do not believe that they are required to be baptized.
  • Look at the reasons why the thief is not a good model of how man might be saved today.
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Matthew 9:2 (KJV) And, behold, they brought to him a man who was suffering from palsy and laying on a bed: and, upon witnessing their faith, Jesus said to the man who was suffering from palsy, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee 3 And, behold, some of the scribes whispered amongst themselves, “This man blasphemes.” 4 4 And Jesus, who knew what they were thinking, answered, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” Which is more difficult: to say, Thy crimes be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise and walk?

  • 5 6) But that you may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins, (as he says to a sick person suffering from palsy), arise, pick up thy bed, and go unto thy house.
  • Every time Jesus talked to a person and forgave them of their sins, their sins were forgiven in the same way.
  • In the event if Jesus were to walk the earth and tell someone that their sins were forgiven, it would be true.
  • The second premise to examine is that the New Covenant had not yet been formed at the time of Jesus’ death.
  • Jesus was still alive and well at the time.
  • If the covenant under which baptism is mandated had not yet come into effect when Jesus spoke to the thief, and it has now come into effect, the rules for salvation have been altered as a result of the altering of covenants, according to the Bible.
  • 9:15 (Hebrews) And it is for this reason that he is the Mediator of the New Testament, in order that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance via the means of death, for the redemption of the trespasses that occurred under the first testament.
  • The third premise is that neither you nor I are in the same situation as the thief, who was face to face with Jesus.
  • No biblical concept will enable us to take a remark made to a single individual and generalize it such that the message applies to everyone.
  • That implies that we must pay attention to what he has communicated to us via the Word.
  • He is not speaking to us face to face, as he did with the thief, and this is a problem.

Matthew 17:5 (KJV) Even as he was still speaking, a brilliant cloud appeared over them, and a voice spoke out of the cloud and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well delighted; listen to him.” Despite the assumptions made about the thief not having been baptized, the fourth principle is that it is more reasonable to assume that the thief had been baptized than it is to believe that he had not.

  • Let’s reread the account and then look at what it truly contains this time.
  • However, his response was swift and sharp, with the other rebuking him, saying, “Doest thou not dread God, considering that thou art in the same condemnation?” 41 And we are righteous, because we have received the proper reward for our acts; but this man has done nothing wrong in his life.
  • In verse 41, the thief claims that “this man has done nothing wrong.” He was well aware that Jesus was without sin or guilt.
  • He could only have known it if he had known Jesus earlier in his life!
  • Before they were put on those crosses, it’s almost certain that he knew who Jesus was!
  • ” In his prayer, he requested Jesus to remember him when he entered his kingdom.
  • Before going to the cross, only those who had been disciples of Jesus would have understood what was going on.

Fourth, the Bible says in verse 42, “thou comest into thy kingdom.” He thought that, despite the fact that Jesus was dying on the cross, he would still reign as a king after death.

Except, of course, he comprehended the predictions of Jesus, according to which he would be raised from the grave in three days.

It appears that this guy, who was crucified with Jesus, was more knowledgeable about Jesus’ teachings on the nature of the Kingdom of God than even the Apostles at that time.

He was familiar with Jesus!

Possibly one of John’s disciples who was baptized with the baptism for repentance and forgiveness of his sins.

5 And there came out to him from all of Judaea, as well as from Jerusalem, and they were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Do you know whether or not he was one of those who were baptized by Jesus’ disciples?

He had to confess his sins as part of the conversion process.

When he attempted to set things right, the people from whom he had taken had him detained and incarcerated.

This thief must have been acquainted with Jesus before his crucifixion.

What other reason could he have for standing up for him so vehemently?

I think it’s particularly essential to point out that there is nothing in the text to suggest that this is the moment in time at which the thief was forgiven for his misdeeds.

Nowhere in the Bible does it mention that his sins were forgiven while he was hanging on the cross.

This concept of “being rescued like the thief on the cross” is concerned with Christ’s authority.

He had a one-on-one conversation with him.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, via his sacrifice and our devotion to His Word, has rescued us today, according to the Word.

Hebrews 5:8 (Hebrews 5:8) Despite the fact that he was a Son, he learnt obedience by the horrors that he endured; 9 Moreover, after being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation for all those who follow his commandments; Jesus will save those who follow his commandments, those who believe and trust in him enough to do what he says.

  • That is Jesus’ intention in making his statement to you.
  • Will you put your faith in Him?
  • 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned, according to the Bible.
  • Is it more important to us that we be saved like the thief who died next to Christ on the cross than that we fulfill these basic commandments of Jesus?

Consider the implications of this carefully. We must not ignore the precepts of Jesus in order to adhere to our own traditions and customs. Ney Reiber contributed to this article. Extracted from Expository Files 4.11, which was created in November 1997.

How could Jesus promise Paradise “today” to the thief on the cross if he didn’t go directly there himself?

Q. If Jesus went straight to the “spirits in jail,” as described in 1 Peter, to proclaim the good news to them, how could he tell the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”? A. If there is a chronological conflict between Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion and Peter’s account of what happened after he died on the cross, we should take notice of it and investigate further. Jesus was crucified “together with two criminals — one on his right and the other on his left,” according to the Gospel of Luke.

“We’re being punished fairly,” he asserted, “and we’re receiving what we deserve as a result of our actions.” “However, this individual has done nothing wrong.” As he was dying on the crucifixion, this second criminal, who is commonly referred to as “the thief on the cross,” whispered to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” According to Jesus’ response, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” According to John’s narrative, all three men died on that same day since it was “the day of Preparation” and “the next day was to be a holy Sabbath.” In order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the crosses throughout the Sabbath, Jewish officials petitioned Pilate to have the legs severed and the bodies removed from the crosses before sunset.

  1. Because of this, the soldiers arrived and began to break the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, followed by the legs of the second.
  2. According to Peter, in his first epistle, “Christ likewise suffered once for sins, the righteous for the wicked, so that you could be reconciled to God.” He was put to death in his physical body, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
  3. In my blog entry titled “What did Jesus do for three days after he went into hell?” I express my support for this concept.
  4. In Hebrew, today is the first day of the week, tomorrow is the second day of the week, and the day after tomorrow is the third day of the week.
  5. Indeed, Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon and resurrected the next Sunday morning.
  6. It also mentions him as escorting the souls who had been saved from torment into paradise at that period, according to the Bible.
  7. Accordingly, it is believed that at some time after his death, but before his resurrection, Jesus escorted these redeemed souls into the presence of the Father.

This tale must be considered in conjunction with Jesus’ dialogue with the thief while on the cross, leading us to infer that the thief must have been one of the ransomed souls whom Jesus escorted into paradise following his crucifixion.

If you try to put happenings in heaven and hell into earthly time, it feels a little weird.

However, allow me to leave you with one final idea.

He was “with him in Paradise,” in that sense.

In other words, this question concerning the thief on the cross indicates that Jesus left heaven and came to earth for us not once, but twice: first as a baby, and then again after his crucifixion in a resurrected body, as revealed in the Gospel of John.

We can only speculate.

It is like the ancient song puts it: “Hallelujah!


Smith is an ordained clergyman, author, and biblical scholar who lives in the United States.

He worked as a consulting editor for the International Bible Society (now Biblica) on The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, rather than chapters and verses, as opposed to the traditional chapter and verse format.

He also worked as a consultant for Tyndale House on the Immerse Bible, a version of the New Living Translation (NLT) that presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without the use of chapters and verses or section titles, as well as other projects.

He received his Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Biblical Studies, from Boston College, which is affiliated with Andover Newton Theological School. View all of Christopher R Smith’s blog entries.

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