“This young man had looked upon Barabbas as a hero. Now he saw that he had been mistaken. Here on the cross beside him, he saw a really great man, a true hero… who fired his zeal and inspired his highest ideas of moral self-respect and quickened all his ideals of courage, manhood, and bravery. [UB 187:04]
Teacher Uteah: “At His final hours, Jesus was still harvesting souls. The young thief crucified next to Him, and one of the Roman soldiers witnessing His dignified agony underwent mighty last-minute conversion experiences. What does it tell you?
“First of all, the young thief was suffering through similar death throes. In times of extreme suffering, everyone looks for saving grace. The young man fully realized his error of judgment concerning his blind allegiance to Barabbas. Jesus comforted him with a few words and significantly lifted his spirit by His impressive self-control.
“Secondly, greatness does not require words. It has more to do with attitude. It is amid the greatest challenges that human beings demonstrate what they are made of. Jesus’ uncomplaining demeanor disarmed many of his detractors.
“Lastly, I would like to point out the universal outreach of Jesus. In your times of struggles and inner turmoil, He will answer your prayers and stand by your side, infusing you with the same “overwhelming sense of love, loyalty, and genuine greatness” that flooded the young thief once He humbly established a heart connection with Him. No saying which instantaneous transformation you will undergo once you fully surrender your life to His leading.”