Through his rebuke, his confession of sin, his acknowledgment of the Lord, and his prayer, the robber expressed his faith. We may say that it was the most difficult time for him to believe in the Lord. According to historical records, during that day in Jerusalem there were more than a million people. All of them were crying out together, "Crucify Him!" "Crucify Him!" "Away with Him!" "Away with Him!" At that time almost all of the Lord’s disciples were scattered. His enemies were many and His friends were few. And yet, on the hill of Golgotha, there was one nailed beside Him, who, despite the opinion of the multitude, singly opposed their view and confessed that this One who was crucified with him was the Savior! Even more, he believed in Him as his personal Savior! What kind of faith is this? This is a faith that is opposed to the whole world. The One whom the world crucified, he believed was the Savior. The One whom the world condemned, he acknowledged as the sinless One. Although the world criticizes Christ, he still believed in Him. Although the world persecutes Christ and tries to crucify Him, yet I believe. Although the world cries, "Away with Him!" "Away with Him!" "There should not be a religion like this in the world!", still I believe. Although the world opposed the Lord Jesus and His disciples with intense pressure, inflicting much suffering on them, I still believe. Dear friends, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, I beg you and I urge you today to believe in Him immediately. This is beneficial to you; it will give you eternal life if you are willing to believe in Him. The Holy Spirit and those who preach the gospel all desire that you will, like the robber, not fear the crowd and come forward to believe in the Lord Jesus. You should not be cowards, hiding yourselves, fearing to believe in Him just because the world opposes, persecutes, mocks, and despises Him. If it is proper to believe in Him and you are an intelligent person, you should not shrink back because of the opposition of others. Committing sin is a truly shameful thing; believing in the Savior is something most glorious. This robber did not lose his dignity because of the crowd. He was not a yes-man; he did not say what others were saying. He would not say, "Crucify Him!", just because the multitude said, "Crucify Him!" He had been that type of person before, but he awoke. Even though the Savior was crucified on the same kind of cross that he was nailed to, and even though they both went through the same experience, he believed in Him. If we consider Christ to be believable and the gospel of His cross to be credible, we should not blindly follow other people because of their criticisms. Do not think that you will lose your dignity when you trust in Christ. In fact, it takes dignity to believe in Christ.
The robber believed that Christ could save him. He was not like some people who regard Christ simply as a human example for people to imitate. He was not like others who regard Christ merely as a great teacher, teaching people and preaching doctrines of equality, love, freedom, and so forth. He was not like still others who regard Christ merely as a social worker, a reformer, coming to serve and reform the Jewish society. All these beliefs seem to be significant. In reality they are insignificant. They seem real yet they are empty. These beliefs could not help him. He was dying! Although the Lord Jesus was perhaps the best example, could just an example help him? He was fast approaching death! The most urgent problem in his heart was the problem of the salvation of his spirit. "Where will I go when I die?" Could Christ teach him anything as a great teacher at this moment? To those who were living, Christ’s reforming of and service to society may have had some contribution; but to the low-class, sinful robber, a criminal whose breath was waning and whose death was imminent, what help could He render? The Lord Jesus whom he believed in was not the Lord Jesus cheered by the crowd, written about, and discussed in the papers. He was the Lord Jesus who could comfort his heart before death, forgive his sins, save his spirit and soul, and give him eternal life. This Lord Jesus can remember him and can save him.
Men and women, please be careful as to what you believe in. Remember that Christ came to be the redeeming Savior and not anything else. Whoever believes that He died on his behalf shall be saved.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 06: The Christian (4), Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)