MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: And They Crucified With Him Two Thieves, One On The Right Hand, And The On The Left, And Jesus In The Midst
KONRAD von Soest
1404 or 1414And they crucified with him two thieves, one on the right hand, and the on the left, and Jesus in the midst: And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith: and he was reputed with the wicked.
Consider first, the malice of the Jews, who by this ignominy endeavor to deface the name of Christ, & instead of the Mesias, to make him reputed a notorious thief. But Christ used this their sin to show forth his own glory , to prepare our salvation, and to give hope to all sinners. For first, whereas there were three nailed on the Cross, & he placed in the midst ,as the chief offender: yet he alone with his Cross is glorious unto the whole world. Secondly, dying between two sinners, he paid the ransom for all sins. Thirdly, he gave hope of pardon to all sinners, and didi fore show that hereafter he would be conserving amongst sinners, & be always ready to assist them, when they call for help, and never forsake them as long as they live.
Consider secondly, that he chose to die amongst thieves, rather them anongst other sinners. First, that whereas theft is a most grievous sin, which both offendeth God, whose image it taketh away, and also hurteth our neighbor, whom it depriveth both of goods and life, he might signify that there is no offense so great, which is not cleansed by this his death, nor any man so wicked, which may not obtain remission of sins.Secondly because every sinner is a thief and a robber, which by his sin kilter his own soul, taketh away honor from God, defileth his creatures, and depriveth the Church of a lively member, that is of himself, whom he hath bereaved of spiritual life.
Consider 3. that the goof thief, as well as the bad, suffered the punishment and death of the cross with Christ but the one turned his punishment to the benefit of his own salvation, and the other, to the hurt and loss of his soul. That thou shouldest understand, that Christ is always present, both to good & bad in their afflictions, and doth send them troubles and miseries, to this end, that they should remember themselves, and lift up their eyes and hearts unto him. Do thou then pray unto God, that in all thy tribulations thou mayest have recourse only to his divine help, and not be over careful to use other means.