Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 105, 1897

The Penitent Thief


September 28, 1897

Previously unpublished.

That which is of great interest to us all is, that Christ, although dying an ignominious death upon the cross, died as One who had endured the test and proving of God. He had lost none of His divine power as a Sin-pardoning Saviour. When the thief crucified on the cross said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,” Jesus gave evidence of His divine attributes. The repentant sinner need not wait unto Christ shall receive His coronation. Before the spectators about the cross, He will reveal that He even in His suffering humanity He hath power to forgive transgression and sin. His hands, though nailed to the cross are not shortened or weakened that He cannot save. His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. Divinity flashes through humanity. From those pale and quivering lips the words are distinctly heard, by the dying penitent and by all surrounding the cross, “Verily I say unto thee today, Shalt thou be with me in paradise.” [Luke 23:42, 43.] 12LtMs, Ms 105, 1897, par. 1

All were looking upon Christ as a deceiver, a fraud, for which He was suffering this ignominious death. But it was only by thus giving His life as a sacrifice, that the sinner could hear the pardoning words of Jesus, “Verily I say unto thee today, Shalt thou be with me in paradise.” [Verse 43.] 12LtMs, Ms 105, 1897, par. 2

These words were words of power, words by which Christ’s divinity is demonstrated, through the veil of suffering humanity breaking forth as the beams of the Sun of Righteousness to that poor, sinful, repentant soul. The dark cloud that veiled His divinity was rent away, and mercy, love, and pardon, His power to save unto the uttermost all that come unto Him was made manifest. 12LtMs, Ms 105, 1897, par. 3

This was a rebuke to His crucifiers and the apparently heedless mob, who were taking up the words of mockery of the priests and rulers. While in the power of deceived religious zealots, who were closing the door of hope, of paradise, to themselves, He, the Sin-pardoner, opens the door for the entrance of the thief when he shall arise from the dead with those who believe on Him who is the resurrection and the life. 12LtMs, Ms 105, 1897, par. 4

At the very time when Satan and all his synagogue unite with priests and rulers to humiliate Him who made the world and all that is therein, He reveals His Godhead, His redeeming power, and bestows the most precious gift that can come to mortal man. He speaks the life-giving words of pardon at the very time when principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world think that they have laid His claim to the King of the Jews in the dust. His divinity, His kingly power, is not exercised in coming down from the cross to give proof that He is the Son of God; but He will show that in His death is life-giving power for all who shall believe in Him. He exerts His divine prerogatives, and assures the poor sinner, “Verily I say unto you today, Shalt thou be with me in paradise.” [Verse 43.] 12LtMs, Ms 105, 1897, par. 5

The stubborn priests and rulers may taunt Him and ridicule His claims of being the Son of God. They may mock Him while in His dying agony, and forever close to themselves the door of Paradise, notwithstanding their claims to pity and knowledge; but the thief who has received Him, who has believed on Him in His humiliation, shall have life with Christ in the paradise of God. 12LtMs, Ms 105, 1897, par. 6