A Tale of Two Criminals – Today’s Youth Devotion

A Tale of Two Criminals

Bible Reading: Luke 23:32-43

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed. . . . But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you are dying?” Luke 23:39-40

HAVE YOU READ today’s Bible reading? If not, you will probably want to read it at least once before you try to tackle the following quiz:

1. Where was Jesus crucified?

(a) A place called Gomorrah, meaning “The Plain”

(b) A place called Golgotha, meaning “The Skull”

(c) A place called Goliath, meaning “The Giant”

2. How did the crowd and the leaders treat Jesus?

(a) They felt sorry for him.

(b) They ignored him.

(c) They made fun of him.

3. How did the thieves treat Jesus?

(a) One mocked him; the other was respectful.

(b) Both mocked him.

(c) Neither one paid any attention to him.

Done? Now check the answers below to see how well you did: 1(b); 2(c); 3(a).

Of the two thieves crucified with Jesus, one treated Jesus with honor and respect. That thief went to paradise that day because he repented and received the forgiveness of his sins through Jesus’ sacrifice. His action has been admired for two thousand years as an example of righteous conduct.

Treating others with respect is right. It’s also the better way to behave because it produces good results more often than not. Treating other people with respect also protects you from offense and makes you more attractive in many people’s eyes. In other words, who would you rather be like: the thief who cursed Jesus or the one who treated him with respect?

REFLECT: The two thieves who were crucified with Jesus illustrate how ugly and offensive disrespectful behavior is, and how attractive and admirable respectful people appear. How does the crowd’s behavior compare to the thieves’ behavior? Why is respect right? Why is it also better? Whom do you most often act like: the thief who cursed Jesus, or the one who treated him with respect? Do you think acting respectfully can make you more attractive and admirable to other people? In what ways?

PRAY: “God, remind me that obeying you has benefits. Help me to be respectful because it is right and because it is the best way to treat others.”