I have a friend who is a judge who told me, "I really believe people are basically pretty good."
I have a tendency to agree with him, but I know it's not true. Typically most of us are only half-heartedly good. And some of us who go all out to be good, sometimes end up being very bad.
The one thief on the cross knew what he did and he knew what he deserved. "We are receiving the due reward for our deeds," he said.
But though he knew his non-goodnesss, for some reason he understood that with God there was hope. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
From a bad man, who knew he was a bad man, this was an audacious request. But our Lord Jesus granted it to him.
My friend the judge who represents the law, is obligated to give jail sentences to those who break the law, regardless of how well he thinks of them.
The Lord Jesus, as the Son of God who bore the law upon Himself, had the authority not only to grant the criminal pardon, but paradise!