The Romans didn’t build the most powerful empire the world had ever seen by being inefficient and wasteful. When they crucified people, they did it in batches.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. - Mark 15:27
The Romans were efficient with their executions. Why waste a perfectly good crucifixion on one person when you could kill three? So, together with Jesus, they executed two other criminals.
We traditionally call these “thieves.” But these weren’t mere pickpockets. Mark calls them “rebels,” and the Greek words used for them in the gospels suggest that the best English equivalent for who they were would be, “terrorists.”
Judaea was being torn apart by religious and political extremists, who virtually indiscriminately murdered and terrorised the population. It was much like our world today, really.
At the end of the day, everyone was glad that this kinds of extremists were caught and punished. After all, they reasoned, there are some crimes that are just so heinous that only the death penalty is good enough for them. That’s who Jesus was crucified with.
People sometimes think that the condemned man who Christ saved at the last moment must have had some goodness in his core. That’s why we call him the “good thief.”
And the one who didn’t make it must have been close to the line, but not quite. If we have any tendency at all to think that way, then we haven’t understood the Gospel. Here’s a simple but profound challenge: What is the Gospel?
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*The Incredible Journey* is a donor-funded ministry passionate about communicating our bold vision of sharing the good news of Christ and preparing people for the soon coming of Jesus. We are devoted to giving Biblical answers to life’s questions through television, the Internet, social media, Bible Centre, evangelistic ministry and Christian living and faith-sharing resources.
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Gary Kent is the speaker for *The Incredible Journey* media ministry. He holds a B.A. in Theology, M.A. in Ancient History & Archaeology, and M. in Divinity. He is an archaeologist who has excavated numerous sites throughout Israel and Jordan. As an internationally-acclaimed speaker and TV presenter, he has spoken and produced numerous documentaries on subjects including the Bible, Bible prophecy, world events and natural health. His passion is to share the good news of Jesus’ imminent return.
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