extreme grace

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

A classic objection against Christianity is the idea of a good person who rejects Jesus going to hell while a murderer who repents at the last minute spending eternity with Jesus. While the details of what people mean by the last minute repentance may be unclear, that statement is basically right. We shouldn't be surprised when that rubs people (and us) up the wrong way because grace always does. 

This story jars against our human nature for the same reason. The man recognises his own sin ("we are recieving our due reward"), recognises the sinlessness of Jesus ("this man has done nothing wrong") and then throws himself on Jesus' mercy ("Jesus, remember me"). He has no time to change his lifestyle, no time to show that he really means it, no time to apologise to his victims or put anything right. But Jesus welcomes him into paradise that day. Extreme grace. We all need it.