16 Apr Day 27 – “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at (Jesus), saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43 (TPT)
In this passage of scripture we see the spotless Lamb of God hanging on a cross, taking away the sin of the world. Jesus has two companions during his crucifixion. They are both criminals and they too are being crucified, one on either side of him. One of his men railed at Jesus saying, “ ‘What kind of Messiah are you? Save yourself and save us from this death!’ The criminal hanging on the other cross rebuked the man, saying, ‘Don’t you fear God? You’re about to die! We deserve to be condemned, for we’re just being repaid for what we’ve done. But this man—he’s done nothing wrong!’ Then he said, ‘I beg of you, my Lord Jesus, show me grace and take me with you into your everlasting kingdom!’ Jesus responded, ‘I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.’
– Luke 23: 39-43 (TPT)
- Have you had the experience of being on both sides of the cross of Jesus?
- Have you ever made demands of God? Have you ever blamed him for the consequences of your own actions? Have you, with a contrite heart recognized your own sin before him and cried out to him for forgiveness?
- If you should be so graced as to recognize Jesus for who he is and be gifted to enter in repentance, then by all means throw yourself at his feet and in so doing you too will share paradise with Christ.
- Perhaps there is someone who is asking you for forgiveness in a most inopportune moment. Maybe they don’t appear deserving like the thief who begged Jesus for forgiveness in his final moments on the cross. If so, could this could be your opportunity to share the forgiving heart of Christ with another?
Dear Jesus, I want to be like the thief who recognized you for who you are. I want to recognize my sin, ask for grace and enter into communion with you. Father God, I want to be like your son Jesus and offer forgiveness to those who may even appear unworthy. Give me the heart of Christ so that I may love like him even when I am in distress. Amen.
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