May 28, 2010

Next to God Himself

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Has anyone ever heard anything happier? Think about where this guys is coming from. He's a criminal, one poor enough and disliked enough to get death by crucifixion; and he knows it. We don't know about this guy's life before he was put on a cross, except that he was recently a criminal. Regardless, he's not happy with how life is going.

Then, as he's being killed for his crime, while the blood is leaving his body and the pain is increasing rapidly, he meets Jesus. For whatever reason, he believes that Jesus is who he said he is; whether this decision was made a while ago or just before he spoke is unknown, but he expresses it now in rebuking the harsh words of the other criminal being crucified.

While they are both dying, the man on the cross asks Jesus "...remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus responds with "Today you will be with me in paradise."

"Today" is pretty soon. Most Christians, nowadays, have no idea when they're going to die and go to heaven. This guy is told that very, very soon, he's going to be with Jesus, in Paradise. And all this right at the end of a very bad time in his life, that ends it! He's a criminal who was sentenced to death, and this is what he finds. He finds Jesus, faith, and a promise that very very soon there will be no more pain, no more frustration, and that he'll be with Jesus forever.

I love to imagine what it's like for God to plan out our lives. When he creating the world, he knew that this man would be a believer, and that they way to make it happen was to have him end up on the cross next to God himself. The way to get to his heart was to put him on a cross next to Jesus. God' got just as powerful a story for you... just love him and walk in obedience to him, and he'll begin to unfold his awesome plan for your life.

No comments:

Post a Comment