Luke 23:32-43    


Two criminals were nailed to crosses on either side of Jesus. They had stolen things and killed people. The punishment for their crimes was death.  

One of the criminals knew Jesus was going to heaven. He wanted to go to heaven too, but knew that was not possible because he had committed evil crimes. How could a holy God who does not have any sin ever accept a person with so much sin? The criminal knew he needed God’s forgiveness. Jesus told the man he would be in heaven that very day. Going to heaven and living forever with Jesus is a gift that brings more happiness than any other gift you can imagine. The other criminal did not fear God or trust Jesus. He would not be in heaven. Living forever apart from Jesus in hell brings more sadness than any other pain. Taking the punishment for one’s own sin in hell forever is worse than any other punishment.   

Are there sins that are too big to be forgiven? When a person is truly sad about his sin and wants to stop sinning, he can ask for God’s forgiveness. God promises to forgive no matter what the sin. How can God forgive our sin when we have not taken the punishment we deserve? God thinks of our sin as belonging to Jesus who took the punishment in our place. Then God thinks of Jesus’ sinless life as belonging to us (Romans 5:1). Can you believe how wonderful this is? As a person trusts in Jesus, it is as if God takes off his or her dirty clothes of sin and puts on a beautiful spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).   


God welcomes into heaven all who have trusted Jesus for forgiveness.



  1. Why were the criminals crucified?
  2. Why did Jesus tell the one criminal that he would go to heaven?
  3. What happens to a person who trusts Jesus and asks for forgiveness?


Acts 2:32-33