“Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom’ ” (Luke 23:42).

Not all deathbed confessions are alike. Just a couple weeks before Mark “Chopper” Read died of liver cancer in 2013, the notorious figure in the Australian underground was interviewed by 60 Minutes and confessed that he had been responsible for killing four people. He coldly and candidly described each murder and when he was asked how he felt about it, he showed no signs of guilt and said he felt “nothing at all.”

In 1977, after James Brewer was suspected of killing his neighbour in a fit of rage, he and his wife jumped bail, left town, and moved to Oklahoma where they started a new life with new names. In 2009, Brewer decided to clear his conscious. After suffering from a stroke, as he lay in a hospital bed ready to die, he asked his wife to call police to come and listen to his confession. In the end, Brewer did not die but turned himself over to authorities when he left the hospital.

The Bible tells of a “deathbed” confession of a criminal hanging on a cross next to Jesus. When the other robber spoke blasphemously to Christ, this criminal rebuked him and said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40, 41).

How could this thief know that Jesus was innocent? It was because he watched the suffering Son of God. He listened to how Christ replied to cruel accusations. He observed the way Jesus treated His tormentors. He heard His compassionate replies to those who ridiculed Him. The thief was transformed by observing the Lamb of God suffering on Calvary and even called Jesus “Lord” when He asked Christ to remember him in His kingdom.

Because of sin, we are all on death row, guilty and condemned to die. Like the thief on the cross, let us behold the Saviour and be changed.

Precious Jesus, I confess all of my sins to You, honestly and with deep remorse. Forgive me by Your blood.

For Further Study: Matt. 27:38–44; Mark 15:27–32; Luke 23:39–43

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