And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If you be Christ, save yourself and us.…
I. REFLECTIONS. Here we have a true picture of human nature as it appears amidst difficulties, and dangers, and sufferings, the appropriate fruits of sin. A care to avoid pain is universally prevalent, but a care to avoid sin is comparatively of rare occurrence. Of this conduct one of the malefactors crucified with Christ afforded a lamentable example. But the other, however bad he had previously been, however much hardened or debased, was brought to true repentance. There was an invisible energy touching his soul and melting it into contrition; the power of the cross of Christ was felt, and it proved the Redeemer to be great in sufferings. Yes, this criminal became humble, his heart believed, and his faith penetrated the vail of the incarnation, realizing what was concealed from an eye of sense, even a ground of hope for his guilty soul.
1. Let us see the greatness and the glory of the Saviour's character. What power I what grace! what dominion over the invisible world!
2. The language of the text supplies a plain proof of the separate and happy existence of the spirits of just men after death.
3. The sufficiency of the sacrifice for sin made by the death of Christ, is illustrated by the case we have considered. He contemplated sinners, the chief of sinners, when he offered Himself to God.
4. What different effects may result amidst a sameness of circumstances and opportunities. Here were two of similar character, both exceedingly wicked, with death in immediate prospect; one becomes a penitent seeking his salvation, the other remains hardened in his sins.
5. The subject suggests the language of encouragement and of caution.
Parallel VersesKJV: And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.