The other answered, and rebuking him said . . . “We are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” – Luke 23:40-41
One of the two criminals crucified with Christ simply wanted to be delivered from his present situation, but the other wanted deliverance from all of his sins. He said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42), demonstrating that he knew about something very important beyond this life.
Many people want Jesus to deliver them from their current problems, but they don’t understand that Jesus wants to deliver us from our eternal problem. The first criminal thought Jesus could fix his temporal problems, but the second thief saw that Jesus could fix his eternal problem. This man evidently believed in the resurrection. He knew Jesus was going to die, yet he asked Jesus to remember him when He arrived in the kingdom.
The first criminals also went along with the noise of the crowd, mocking and jeering at Christ, while the other based his decision on his faith in Christ rather than the opinion of the masses. Jesus rewarded his faith when He answered that the thief would be with Him that very day in paradise (verse 43). The thief knew that he had nothing to offer God and that no human remedy could meet his eternal need.
The question you must ask is, which side of the cross are you on? Are you on the side of the one who wanted Jesus only for earthly deliverance and didn’t understand the eternal repercussions, or are you on the side of the one who said to Jesus, “I can’t fix myself, and I need You to be my redeemer”?