43 • And he said to him,
"Truly, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise."
44 • It was now about the sixth hour,
• and there was darkness over the whole land
until the ninth hour,
To ask a man to remember you, for whom you have done some service, who is about to be restored back to honour and influence, as Joseph did of Pharaoh's butler, that is one thing. To ask a man dying of crucifixion to remember you is quite another.
When the midday sun was at its height there was a darkness over all the land that persisted for three hours.When Jesus was asked by the thief to remember him when he would come into his kingdom, the times were put completely out of joint and all of creation had the appearance of having gone into reverse.
Well might the sun in darkness hide,I don't know how sincere the criminal was when he began to ask to be remembered, I really don't and I don't think it matters, either. As he spoke he said two things. He confessed Jesus as Lord and spoke about his resurrection in terms of coming into his kingdom. It may well be that we would like to think that however the man began he must have come to believe what he was saying even while he was saying it but our doubts and our likings have nothing to do with it.
and shut its glories in,
when the incarnate maker died
for man his creature's sin.
The words of Jesus as he replied to the repentant thief are full of justifying grace. Out of joint with all of society this thief might have been but for only a look at Jesus lifted up, his confession of Lordship and the belief engendered in his heart that God would most certainly raise him from the dead — for that and even then and there the man whose life had been all wrong was made for ever right with God.