He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
– Luke 23:42
Here is a thief with great faith. This sinner admitted he deserved what he suffered. At the same time, he knew Jesus, suffering next to him, was innocent. He also recognized the Lordship of Jesus. He recognized Jesus had the compassion and authority to overlook his sins. And he knew that this death would not stop Jesus from returning in power and great glory to reward those who trust in Him.
What a contrast with the disciples, whose hope died when their Lord died (Luke 24:21). They didn’t believe when told He was risen from the dead. They didn’t remember what He had told them.
The disciples spent over three years with their Master, the thief only a few hours. Why did the thief believe when the disciples didn’t? Perhaps the disciples were too familiar with Jesus. Whatever the explanation we might have, the real reason is that God hadn’t granted that kind of faith to His disciples yet. Repentance and faith come only as a gift from God (Acts 5:31, 11:18, Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Timothy 2:25-26). Without this working of the power of God man, no one would come to salvation.
Keep praying for your lost friends and loved ones. Their best and only hope is that God would change their hearts.