My parents always told me to choose my friends wisely. The logic is simple; you become who you hang around. When you hang around troublemakers you either become a troublemaker or you get lumped in with them. When you hang around the good kids, you get lumped in with them. Though there is always an exception, the principle has stood firm.
This Sunday night we find Jesus in an unexpected group. Sunday night we find Jesus among the company of thieves hanging on the cross. It is the last place you would think to find the son of God. On the other hand, Jesus was never one for the company of the over religious. He challenged them, but they never saw their need for him. Over and over you see Jesus in the company of men just like the ones he was crucified with. Why? Jesus came to bring life and hope to men who were all destined for death and punishment.
Jesus became just like the people he was around. There is a big difference, though. Where my time spent around troublemakers led me into trouble, Jesus’ time spent around humans like us led us to righteousness. Jesus was crucified a condemned man; he was condemned for the sin of mankind. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Corinthians 5:21)