“The other criminal,” for whom this blog is named, is found in Matthew 27:38, 44, and Luke 23:40-43.

The “other criminal” initially mocks the “King of the Jews” hanging beside him (Matthew 27:44), along with another criminal. However, at some point, this man becomes contrite; he chastises the mocking criminal, saying, “Don’t you fear God…? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40-41).
Like practically everywhere in the Bible, the Gospel is found in this minor character’s lines:
  1. The criminal acknowledges that he deserves a shameful death and that receiving that death is justice. Face-to-face with Jesus, the criminal realizes that he is more terrible than he’s ever dared imagine. He is so terrible that he has even had the audacity to mock the innocent, self-sacrificing Son of God.
  2. The criminal believes that Jesus, God beside him on a cross, loves him enough to think of him–a criminal–upon entering His kingdom. Something about the innocent man hanging beside him assures him that he is more loved than he’s ever dared hope.
  3. The criminal is completely, utterly accepted. He will not just be in paradise, but he will be there by Jesus’ side, with Jesus, as a friend. This kind of acceptance, by none other than the king of all worlds, fulfills the deepest longing of all of our hearts, and it is available to the worst of sinners.

So, the reason I call this blog “The Other Criminal” is because I, too, have mocked Jesus. I, too, deserve to pay dearly for my many sins. And yet, in Christ I am given what no other religion or philosophy gives me: a God who dies in my stead, who is divinely just and divinely loving at the same time.

This message of good news–this “gospel”–is of infinite worth to those who are saved. Completely apart from what I deserve or am capable of, I am one of those people.


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