Matthew 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Introductory Thoughts

Crucifixion was one of the most gruesome forms of capital punishment in the Roman Empire. The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus was crucified alongside two thieves. According to Roman law, crucifixion was a just punishment for someone guilty of being a thief (Luke 23:41). Another thief named Barabbas was also condemned and should have been the third thief crucified (John 18:40). Instead, the people pleaded for the life of this thief and demanded that the giver of all things be crucified. It is interesting that the Lord Jesus rebuked the Jews for coming out against Him as a thief with swords and staves to take Him to be judged (Matthew 26:55). The Lord was certainly no thief, but He allowed Himself to be crucified with and for thieves. Why did He allow this? The Bible says it was because His love compelled Him to “bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Many publicans were thieves and were hated (Luke 3:12-13; Matthew 9:10-13; Matthew 18:17; Luke 19:2, 7). The Lord will cleanse from any sin including theft (1 John 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Luke 18:13-14; Luke 19:8-9).
• (For everyone): One of the thieves turned to the Lord in faith while hanging upon the cross. How is this only possible because of the Lord’s willingness to die the death of a thief?
• No thieves shall inherit the kingdom of God, but there will be plenty in Heaven who lived as thieves prior to trusting in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:10-11). This is only possible because Christ died in their place.

Prayer Thoughts

• Thank the Lord for dying the death of a thief.
• Ask God to help you tell other thieves of Christ’s death.