The Unrepentant Thief

I hate these guys. They have their fancy armor and swords and all their pomp. They can all kiss my… Who’s this guy? Man, he is torn up! He can barely walk into the holding cell where they have kept us locked up like animals. “If I get out of here, I’m going to hunt down you and your family!” I scream at the guard at the door.

“Good thing for me the only way you’ll get out of there is strapped to a cross,” he laughs. I’m going to find a way to hurt him before I get out of here. He’s right, though. There is no getting out, no legal recourse. I’m going to die.

A more noble man would admit to you that I deserve what I am about to get. Well, I have never been mistaken for anybody noble, that’s for sure. Hey, if you grew up the way I did you’d have lived like me, too. I never did meet the guy who made my mom pregnant, and she can’t remember which of her “customers” it was. Well, I guess if you’re a prostitute like her, getting pregnant is part of the job. She died when I was six and I was left to fend for myself. I got pretty good at lifting items, then I learned to use a knife. That is when I found out the power that comes from fear.

So, yeah, I killed a guy, and the Romans don’t like me any more than I like them. It was killing that soldier in the alley that finally landed me here. Well, I’ve had a good run.

This new guy they brought in is bugging me. There is something different about him. Now being beat up, that happens to all of us. True, he has been pretty savagely beaten. Who did he kill for them to treat him that way? He barely looks human. He glances my way and looks at me through two swollen eyes. Wow… It’s like his eye bore through my skull. I leer at him and spit through clenched teeth, “What are you lookin’ at?” He doesn’t answer at first, then he simply says, “We are near the end, will you call on God? He wants to love you and offers a new life.”

“New life? Call on God? What good has he ever done for me? No, I’ll take my chances with the soldiers and Rome, you can have God…” I turn away from him, but my words ring hollow. If there is a God, surely he won’t forgive me. I was born rotten and got worse as I grew. Nope, God doesn’t want anything to do with me…

I come to, after a horrible afternoon. As my senses return all I feel is excruciating pain. It slowly dawns on me that I am hanging on a cross. I didn’t even get to hurt that guard. I glance over to my right. There is the Galileean, what was his name? Oh yeah, Jesus. What’s his sign say? “King of the Jews?” Well, that explains the beating he got. I yell to him, “Hey, King. If you’re so powerful, save us. Hey, at least save yourself! You’re no king, you’re just a loser like me…”

Jesus tells the other guy that he’ll see him in Paradise. Sounds nice. I’m not buying it, but it sounds nice…

I wake up again just in time to see the sky get dark and hear Jesus say his last words, “It is finished.” He doesn’t say it like I feel it. It’s not defeated. It’s… It’s triumphant. The ground rumbles, the rain starts and I hear one of the soldiers at my feet mutter, “Surely he was the Son of God.” Did I miss my chance? I could have spoken to him, could have gone to Paradise. Only one place for a guy like me. I’ve heard about hell, and it sure doesn’t sound like paradise. Story of my life, I never could get a break, or I was just too stupid to take one when I got the chance…

Easter is all about second chances. Don’t let yours pass you by…

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