We can assume that the thieves on both sides of Jesus were hardened criminals – after all, crucifixions were reserved for the worst of the worst. I think that's why reading of the thief who cried out to Jesus for help both touches us and frustrates us. The same is true when we hear about the Ted Bundy story: a serial murderer who received the death sentence in 1989 for his disgusting crimes. Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family had an opportunity to interview Ted Bundy, and Bundy admitted to trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. How could it be that such a notorious criminal would be ushered into heaven? Just like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, Bundy recognized at the end of his life that Jesus is the only way to everlasting life – it is not earned by being a "good" person or attending church every week. Bundy gave his heart to the Lord in his final hours just like the thief on the cross. Scripture teaches us God is not slow in fulfilling His promise of Jesus returning to earth but is waiting so that the most people people can come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) – people like Bundy and the thief. For their sakes, it's better late than never.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.