I have always used the thief at the cross as an example of how a person can be saved at the last minute. Two years ago I spoke to the village where Miguel Angel, Ana's brother in Chihuahua lives, and told the men there how if they are taken out of their homes to be killed, (that is still happening and at the time was happening a lot) that they should use the last minutes of their lives to repent and ask Jesus for forgiveness instead of wasting those precious last minutes paralyzed by fear and regret. I explained to them how foolish it is to wait that long and how wise it is to give your life to Jesus now and live for Him and how we will each be rewarded for what we have done here on earth. The thief on the cross has always seemed like and example of someone that wasted his life but found forgiveness at death's doorstep. Yesterday I saw him in a different light.
I was explaining how stocks work and used Eva's garden as an example. I told them how if Eva wanted to go public and expand, she could sell stocks and each of us could purchase a part of her present business and doing so would include any future growth. I told them that perhaps each one of them might buy one share because of lack of confidence in the future of that same business. Now I have seen Eva's garden and I know that she has a green thumb and that she is a very hard worker and very disciplined. I would buy at least 1000 shares! I told them to imagine at the end of a year now instead of her garden being just her back yard, being the field next to it which is a huge field. Now because we invested in her enterprise, we also each own a percentage of her business. Of course, because I had faith in her abilities, I own much more and my investment is paying off handsomely.
Now back to the thief on the cross. The disciples had placed all of their hopes on Jesus: Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." (Mark 10:28). Imagine how they felt when Jesus was arrested, tried, beaten and then hung on cross to die. I believe at that point that they were all wondering how to get rid of all the "stock" that they had bought in Jesus. They had lost all hope. They were afraid for their lives. Peter was denying even having known Jesus. These were the people that had been with Him from the first and at this point really didn't have any faith in the future of themselves or the enterprise that is Jesus.
Two men hanging on crosses next to Jesus were even mocking him, until one of them saw something there in Jesus. I imagine that they were imitating the crowds as they mocked Jesus and called for Him to save Himself, but then something happened in one of the thieves. He decided that the crowd was wrong. He looked at the beaten and bloody Savior and decided to cast the last of his numbered breaths into trusting in Jesus. He "bought in" to the enterprise of the Kingdom of Heaven, when it's stock was at the absolute bottom. Jesus promised him that on that same day, that he would be together with Him in paradise!