*** WARNING… THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ***
Often, we hear that the Thief on the Cross is proof that Baptism is needed. This is because it is commonly believed that this is the first time the Thief met Christ, accepted him and believed. Because of this, the Thief is saved, without the need for Baptism.
However, as a thought experiment, I want to argue that maybe this is not entirely accurate.
Is it actually more likely that the Thief WAS a follower of Christ prior to the Cross?
- The Thief knew who Jesus was. There was no hesitation. Unlike today, Pictures of Jesus would not have been well known. How could He had known that this was the Jesus talked about be everyone if he hadn’t already seen or heard him at some prior date. Remember, Jesus is really a mistype for the name Joshua, a VERY common name of the time.
- There were generally two groups of people, those that followed Jesus, and those that ridiculed him. His being the very son of God was not a common title among lay followers, he was the messiah. Those that did call him Son of God were more often using it to ridicule him.
- He knew enough about Jesus to repent. This meant he knew what he taught, probably heard it in a sermon by either him or one of his disciples. How do we know that the Thief didn’t accept Christ and be Baptized earlier. Followed Jesus for a time, and then fell away? (please don’t make this a OSAS thread on how this is impossible per OSAS)
- There is very little in scripture about the Thief, how can we honestly say that this is the first time he met Jesus.
Point is, there is so much ambiguity to the Thief’s past that for all we know, he was one of the disciples that turned away in John 6. We DON’T know whether or not he was baptized. There is simply not enough evidence either way.
So, how can this be used as proof that Baptism is NOT required…
Again… Just a thought experiment