Can a thief go to heaven?

By LENARD HUEBSCHER – Gazette Columnist

The question is asked: "Can a thief go to heaven?"

Let us take a look at the four thieves closely involved in the events surrounding the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first of these was one of Jesus’ own disciples.

"Judas was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein" (John12:6). It was Judas, of course, who betrayed Christ, facilitating His arrest and conviction.

The second was not only a thief, but also a revolutionary and a murderer.

"Barabbas … was a robber" (Mark 15:7 and John 18:40). This convicted criminal appointed to death was released and Jesus was condemned in his stead. Thus, Barabbas benefited temporarily from Christ, receiving an unexpected and undeserved liberty because Christ was willing to go to the cross.

"Then were there two thieves crucified with Him" (Matthew 27:38). Their names are not given in the Bible. But their attitudes toward Christ, and therefore their ultimate destinies, were diametrically different.

One of them berated Christ, saying, "If you be Christ, save yourself and us" (Luke 23:39).

The fourth thief, on the other hand, believed Christ and therefore heard His saving words: "Today you shall be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

All of these four men were thieves, deserving punishment. One was a betrayer, ending his life in suicide. One was a beneficiary, though only for a time. One was a berater, destined for hell. But one was a believer, receiving salvation and eternal life.

Jesus, who received the penalty for thievery, can save even the thief, for He came "That they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10).

Jesus paid the penalty for thievery and for all sin. For all the sin you and I have committed. And Jesus can save all sinners, which includes each one of us. No other way.

If you have a Bible question write to Pastor Lenard Huebscher, 12721 75th St. North, Stillwater MN 55082 or call 651-430-3132.