Global Media Outreach


The Criminal’s Cross

The Cross during sunset

Good Friday is one of the heaviest days in the Christian calendar. Believers around the world are commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion, reflecting on the eternal impact of His choice to be tortured and killed so each of us could have a direct relationship with God.

This poem, The Criminal’s Cross was written by Luke Radtke, our Chief Growth Officer Jamie Radtke’s son when he was 16 years old. It offers a poignant perspective from one of the thieves on a cross near Jesus: the singular most important event of all time—the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

The Criminal’s Cross

Written by Luke Radtke

I am facing the punishment for my crime.
I am a criminal being hung on a cross.
I am the one who’s limited my time.
My whole life, but a loss.

Here I am constrained, being forced to lay,
To every God for deliverance, I pray.
As they nail me into my final resting place
I realize how far I am from a saving grace.

As they begin to hoist me up,
The pain I felt was such a bitter cup.
I screamed and cried as I hung
Struggling to get enough air for even one lung.

Yet in my suffering, I was not alone.
For on my right there was one
And he let out a loud groan.
And then, I thought what have they done?

Even on the cross, he forgives
As his final moments he lives.
He was betrayed for thirty shekel
And present is the crowd, but only to heckle.

“King of the Jews” he is called
But to this, the Chief Priests are appalled.
His mouth is dry and they give him wine
But then he rejects it, and I know it’s a sign.

Then the other criminal shouted out, saying,
“If you are a king, deliver us from the slaying.”
I heard what he said, and replied with speed,
“This man is innocent, in thought, word, and deed.”

I turned to the king, who had received a brutal beating
“I beg of you, please just remember me.”
He replied, “In heaven, we will be meeting
And all glory and majesty you will see.”

From this, I knew he was the Lord
And in a humble voice he roared,
“Having fulfilled this dreadful role,
To you, oh Father, I commit my soul.”


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